Tag Archives: cc

Wolfgang’s Steakhouse

Wolfgang’s overall score: 85

This place has been on my list of must-do steakhouses since the list began. I’m a little ashamed that I hadn’t gone until just last night. I don’t know what the fuck took me so long to get my ass over here, but, in any case, it finally happened. Here’s what I thought:

Flavor: 8

My wife and I tried two steaks. First, we shared the bone-in rib eye.

We both remarked that this was cooked perfectly the whole way through, with a great crust all around.

There was just a bit of seasoning missing. Perhaps just a little more salt would have bumped this up a bit. 7/10.

The second steak we tried was the porterhouse.

This baby was good. The filet side was melt-in-your-mouth tender, and the strip side was full of powerful dry-aged funk. The filet side had less character than the strip side, and the strip side had more tooth to each bite.

Served in the Luger style, the Wolfgang’s porterhouse comes out broiled on the top of the steak only, with the bottom being in contact with the sizzling hot plate. While they were judicious on the use of butter (not too much, thankfully), I do prefer my steaks broiled or seared on both sides. In any case, this was a really good rendition of that style, and it was cooked expertly to medium rare throughout. 8/10.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 8

You’ve got porterhouse, strip, filet and rib eye here. The basics. All of the beef comes from the midwest and is aged in-house, and it’s all USDA prime grade.

Portion Size & Plating: 8

Portions here are in line with what you might expect at all the major midtown steakhouses, and the plating is standard as well. Nothing fancy.

Price: 8

The prices here vary from the $50-$60 range per person, which has become pretty much standard for the area. Not bad when you consider that they are nailing the cook temps here, and putting out some good grub.

Bar: 10

This bar is iconic. The arched ceiling throughout the restaurant really gives you the feeling that you’ve stepped back in time, to the old days of dank, dimly lit taverns. I was actually shocked to learn that they only opened in 2004. I was almost expecting something like the 1920’s.

The cocktails are great too. We tried “The Black Manhattan” and a standard gin martini. Both expertly made.

Specials and Other Meats: 7

There were no specials read to us, but then again we were pretty much dead set on what we were going to order anyway. That may have signaled to the waiter that he didn’t need to get into it with us. In any case, the only other meat available here is lamb. Fuck that other nonsense anyway. I respect that. Unfortunately, though, for scoring purposes, that means I have to take some points.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8

We started with a round of littleneck clams and oysters on the half shell. Both were tasty and fresh, cleanly shucked and void of debris and odors. The clams come eight to an order, which is nice. The oysters, six.

We also had a slab of their bacon.

I’m happy to report that this blows away Luger’s bacon, which is always fucking burnt. This was nice and thick, rendered well, crisp and meaty.

On the side, we had two types of spinach: sautéed and creamed. The creamed spinach is my favorite style – “creamless” creamed spinach. So velvety and buttery. That was the better of the two, but both are definitely up to snuff.

For dessert, we shared a slice of pecan pie with schlag. Very nice. Hot and sweet. The schlag was a good balance to the pie. Without it, it would’ve been too sweet.

Seafood Selection: 8

There’s sea bass, salmon, tuna and lobster on the menu. These seem to be industry standard in the steakhouse world. Occasionally you see swordfish, or some shrimp scampi preparations from time to time.

Service: 10

The servers here are all awesome, and everyone – the bartenders, the hostesses, the managers – is really looking out for you. I loved it. Classic style on the wait staff, bowties and all.

Ambiance: 10

As I mentioned above in the bar area, this place is absolutely iconic. The arched ceilings can cause the room to get pretty loud when the place is crowded though, so make sure you expect that going in. I didn’t mind it at all. It felt welcoming.

WOLFGANG’S STEAKHOUSE
4 Park Ave
New York, NY 10016

Robert’s Steakhouse

Robert’s Steakhouse overall score: 84

YES! This is the steakhouse inside the gentlemen’s club called “The Executive Club,” formerly of Penthouse fame. For many years I had heard – all bullshitting aside – that this really was a great steak joint. Adam Perry Lang is rumored to have designed and built the aging room that’s there on site. So how did it fare under my intense scrutiny? Very well, actually. See below:

Flavor: 9

I tried both the porterhouse for two and rib eye for two. The porterhouse was a 9/10, and is probably in the running for one of the best porterhouses I’ve had for 2019.

The rib eye, 8/10.

Both had great aged flavor and were cooked almost perfectly, but the porterhouse just came out on top in terms of that aged goodness. Also, I felt like the rib eye was a bit small as being marketed “for two.”

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 10

I’ve heard that the beef here is from Master Purveyors in the Bronx, though they did not confirm. Those guys have been very consistent in terms of quality, from my experience. The dry-aging is done on site here in a proprietary aging room, but they did not reveal how long they age the meat. No matter, though, because that flavor was definitely present and pleasant. Next time I go, I’d like to do a tour of the aging room. Prime quality all the way here, and the basics are all covered in terms of the cuts.

Portion Size & Plating: 8

Portions are fair. As noted above I thought the rib eye for two was a little small, but otherwise they were fine. The plating is upgraded a bit from the standard basic steakhouse style, with some flare for the apps and sides.

Price: 8

My meal was free, as this was a press event, but the prices were pretty fair for steakhouse fare. I was expecting a heavy uncharge being in a strip club, but that was not the case at all. There may be some price holding as, from what I understand, this joint may be a members only kind of place. I have to check up on that though. Don’t hold me to it…

Bar: 7

I was only privy to the bar upstairs by the Robert’s dining area, which was a small seven or eight foot stretch without any actual bar stool seating. Mainly this seemed like a place to either stand and drink while waiting to be accosted by a dancer, or just a staging place where the bartenders can mix up drinks to later be distribute via waitresses to the various tables. In any case, they did mix a good martini, and if eye candy is what you’re after at a bar, then what better place is there to be than a strip club?

Specials and Other Meats: 8

There weren’t any specials that I was aware of, but then again this was a press meal with a somewhat set menu. As far as other meats go, they offer veal, chicken and lamb. One thing I did enjoy, oddly enough, was the rigatoni pasta with fresh ricotta and tomato sauce. Not sure if that’s a special or just another type of entree, but it was tasty and had a good level of spice to it.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8

We tried a bunch of items, some of which I didn’t shoot (like the creamed spinach, mac and cheese and mashed potatoes). First was the hamachi crudo. I liked this.

Next up, tuna tartare with quail egg. This was delicious as well.

The shrimp salad was bland and somewhat flavorless. Pass on this one.

However, the shrimp cocktail was incredible. These gigantic shrimp were meaty, perfectly cooked and robust with that great shellfish flavor. Get this.

The crab cake fell into the world of averages. Not bad, not great. It was crispy on the outside and meaty on the inside, however, which are two big and important characteristics of a crab cake.

We skipped dessert since we were full, so I can’t comment on that.

Seafood Selection: 8

There’s a bunch on the menu here (tuna, salmon, sea bass, lobster), and from what I tried of it in the appetizers section, I think they would do a good job with mains.

Service: 10

The service here is great. All of the staff is very attentive and they explained the menu and beef cuts correctly, even to the extent that they discussed the dry-aging processes. The chef is also really great and visited with us throughout the meal. He bounces back and forth between the NYC location and Atlantic City, however, so I hope he leaves the kitchen in trusted hands when he isn’t around.

Ambiance: 8

While the “surroundings” are indeed pleasing to any heterosexual male, the “restaurant” itself isn’t quite separated from the club other than the fact that it’s upstairs. There are still girls walking around looking to cash in with dances, and I suppose if you wanted you could see the main stage and pole from anywhere up there. That’s not a complaint – just an observation that this place is different than a standard steakhouse or restaurant due to the nature of it being literally inside and not separated from the strip club.

ROBERT’S STEAKHOUSE
The Executive Club
603 w. 45th Street
New York, NY 10036

BLT Steak

BLT Steak overall score: UNRATED

This is a special sort of review, so I am keeping it unrated for now (flavor on all of the cuts was a 10/10 though, just for your own edification). I recently became friendly with the owner of Kow Cattle Co., a domestic wagyu producer out of Iowa that ships directly from the farm to customers and restaurants. No distributors get their hands on this stuff, and the beef goes right back to them after the slaughterhouse. Needless to say they create some great product, most of which is grading out at BMS scores of around 8. This dinner was a special tasting of a few different cuts of Kow, since BLT is now going to serve some of their products on the menu. Check it out:

Wagyu Tongue Reuben

This baby is on their lunch menu, and it is amazing. You may be freaked out by the idea of eating tongue, but it is tender, marbled and delicious. When cooked properly, this is one of the most delicious cuts of the animal. Go give it a shot.

Vietnamese Style Tri-Tip

Perfection! I hope this is on their regular menu, because it is an amazing way to treat an off-cut, or not-so-common cut (uncommon here in NYC steakhouses anyway). There was a hit of fish sauce, fresh herbs like cilantro and scallion, pickled daikon and carrot. Amazing. And look at that sear on the outside!

Wagyu Tenderloin/Filet Mignon

This is pure butter. So friggin good. Great cook temp, great crust on the outside, and super soft inside.

Wagyu Tomahawk Rib Eye

This is served sliced and off the bone. I loved it. Everyone goes nuts for the tenderloin from these Kow folks, but I am a traditionalist. Give me that rib eye!

As for some of the other items we tried from the BLT bullpen, their awesome popovers:

A really nicely crafted terrine/head cheese:

Lamb bacon, which I was excited to see on the menu:

A standard wedge salad:

A great blue cheese olive martini:

Some kind of flourless healthy vegan brownie, that was actually good:

And mini cookie ice cream sandwiches. Good ice cream, but cookies needed to be softer.

Anyway, that does it. I’ll definitely be back for seconds on the Reuben for lunch, and I need to take my wife for the Viet tri-tip.

By the way, you can order all of these Kow steaks online from THEIR WEBSITE. I highly recommend.

BLT STEAK
106 E 57th St
New York, NY 10022

Brooklyn Chophouse

Brooklyn Chophouse overall score: 81

From the crew that brought you Jade Sixty comes Brooklyn Chophouse, located in FiDi (not Brooklyn) and executing a very similar, if not the same, menu as Jade Sixty (Asian starters and entrees, fusion items, and good old American style chops).

Flavor: 6

We had the dry-aged (50-60 days) porterhouse for two.

This had minor dry aged flavor along the edges of some pieces. It was slightly overcooked from medium rare in some parts, but none of that stopped me from devouring it – and the temperature issue is somewhat expected with such a thick cut (2″ at least). The crust was excellent, as you can see.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 8

You have a nice range of steakhouse selections here, all dry-aged and prime from Pat LaFrieda’s operation.

Portion Size & Plating: 8

Portions are on par with steakhouse country in midtown and other places downtown. There are some bargains to look out for, which I will get into below.

Price: 8

We had a comped meal here in exchange for posting pics on Instagram, but the pricing is fair for what you are getting. Think of this place like any other steakhouse, but with some nice Asian items to boot. Speaking of, the $55 Peking Duck is a great deal (more on that below).

Bar: 9

I really loved the bar and lounge area here. They’re also mixing up some great cocktails, like the smoked boulevardier:

The Brooklyn old fashioned is killer too:

Specials and Other Meats: 9

There are lots of other items in terms of specials and other meats. But the main non-beef dish to look for here is the Peking duck. Here is a video of the slicing and presentation:

Make sure you take the remainder of that 7lb duck carcass home and make soup with it. One of the best Peking duck dishes I’ve had, ever. Awesome deal for just $55.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 7

We tried a bunch of stuff here. Let me get right down to it.

Bacon – nice sweet maple flavor to it.

Pastrami dumplings – these are fun and delicious.

French onion soup dumplings – the skin was a bit too thick on these, and the filling was overly cheesy in some, and overly oniony in others. I think they can benefit from a more even distribution into each sack.

Bacon cheeseburger shumai – absolutely awesome. Get these! I can easily put down three orders of these without batting an eye.

Chocolate cake – dry and we weren’t fans of the frosting.  A bit greasy, like they used shortening rather than buttercream.

The apple wontons were fun though. Mine didn’t have too much apple inside, but I just filled them with the vanilla ice cream instead.

Seafood Selection: 8

There’s a lot of great seafood on the menu, as you might expect from an Asian themed place. I didn’t try any but my next visit will be to try the salt and pepper lobster dish.

Service: 9

Really friendly and knowledgeable staff, timely with everything.

Ambiance: 9

They nailed the ambiance here. It has a great vibe inside, especially the lounge and bar area. The elevated main dining room and private dining spaces are elegant but not stuffy.

BROOKLYN CHOPHOUSE
150 Nassau St
New York, NY 10038

Royal 35 Steakhouse

Royal 35 Steakhouse overall score: 81

My wife and I came here with another couple. We got to try a good amount of stuff, so let me get right to it.

Flavor: 8

We had both the porterhouse and the rib eye. Both came in at about 8/10 for flavor.

Both were cooked to my liking of medium rare with a good crust.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 8

All of the standard steakhouse cuts are available here. They are all dry aged on site, and prime.

Portion Size & Plating: 8

Portions are good, and on par with all the other major steakhouses in the area. For the price, you get a good value here.

Price: 8

Pricing is average for the area, with some good values here and there in terms of portion size and quality. You won’t feel like you got banged out.

Bar: 7

The bar is a small stretch near the front of the restaurant, separated from the lounge area and the main dining room. They make a nice martini.

Specials and Other Meats: 8

There were definitely some specials that the waiter read to us, but we were set on what we wanted from the main menu, so we didn’t pay too much attention. By way of alternative meats, they offer veal and lamb.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8

We started with the bacon, half a strip each:

Here I am cutting it with an awesome new knife that I will tell you about soon:

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Johnny Prime™ (@johnnyprimecc) on

Next was the crab cake. This was killer! Easily one of my favorites in the city. Go get this!

We also tried the baked clams. These had a bit too much breading, so they ate a bit dry. Otherwise nice flavors.

There was also this nice wedge salad. Simple and delicious.

For dessert we had the butter cake. I had high hopes, considering this is my favorite dessert at Del Frisco’s, but here it was a bit too dry.

Seafood Selection: 7

There’s a lot to choose from by way of seafood entrees, but since I only tried the clams so far, I can’t really opine other than on those.

Service: 10

Impeccable. The staff here is amazing all the way from top to bottom, front to back. That’s the way it should be.

Ambiance: 9

I really loved the decor and set up here. They made the most of what would otherwise be a challenging space. There are some awesome booth tables on the way leading back to the main dining room, and the main dining room has super high ceilings with elegant wallpaper and wood trim. Very nice.

ROYAL 35 STEAKHOUSE
1 East 35th St
New York, NY 10016

Chicago Chophouse

Chicago Chophouse overall score: 88

My wife and I came here for our second steakhouse meal of the night on our last night in Chicago. While this was steakhouse dinner number two for the day, it was number four for the trip. Four steakhouses in three nights is aggressive. But that’s what I do.

Flavor: 8

We had the pleasure of going on a little tour of the kitchen and upstairs floors in the restaurant before we ate. I even had a chance to see my steak before it was cooked. Dry-aged rib eye:

1500 degree broilers!

This is how it came out:

Nice crust:

It reminded me a bit of my last visit to Delmonico’s. I liked it, but it was slightly over-salted. However, I love that all of their steaks get finished in rendered wagyu beef fat.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 10

You have a wide variety of steaks from both the dry-aged and wet-aged factions, as well as domestic wagyu and other selections. Below you can see some pics from their walk-in, showing wet-aged and dry-aged cuts.

Portion Size & Plating: 9

Portions here are pretty good, and there are multiple sizes of each cut on the menu available to suit your appetite. Plating is in the standard steakhouse style.

Price: 7

The dry aged rib eye was a bit pricey at $69. This is more than NYC pricing, but then again dry-aged steaks are more of a rare thing here in Chicago, I have learned. The pricing on the seafood platter was fair though.

Bar: 10

This ground floor level drinking den is gorgeous, and it reminded me of Keen’s. I would hang out here any day.

They mixed a nice negroni and old fashioned too.

They are even opening a speakeasy on the second floor. I saw some of the pre-construction and it looks like it’ll be awesome.

Specials and Other Meats: 8

There’s a healthy selection of alternative proteins here as well as some daily specials. I didn’t wade into that stuff on this visit though. I was streamlined for the rib eye.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8

We only tried the bacon and a dessert, since this was steakhouse dinner number two of the night. The bacon was thick cut Nueskes and glazed with maple syrup. So good.

How does one choose a dessert?

Go with the waiter’s suggestion: creme brûlée cheesecake. Very nice.

Seafood Selection: 8

My wife had a seafood platter for one. They ran out of oysters on the half, so they made up for it with that nice log king crab. This could have used one or two more items to round it out, but $25 is a nice price regardless.

Service: 10

Our waiter George was awesome. Super friendly, knowledgeable and attentive. The house even comped that bacon app for us, which I thought was very kind. The bread selection was nice and warm with spreadable butter too.

Ambiance: 10

I love this place. It’s set in an old townhouse that is rumored to be haunted, but the decor inside is in line with places like Keen’s, where it almost has an urban museum feel for the city of Chicago. When you come here, I definitely urge you to explore and check out everything on the walls.

CHICAGO CHOPHOUSE
60 W Ontario St
Chicago, IL 60654

Lawry’s the Prime Rib

Lawry’s The Prime Rib overall score: 92*

I’d never been to a Lawry’s before. I had heard good things, and of course we all know the seasonings from the grocery store.

But I honestly did not expect it to be as awesome as it was. The Chicago location is not only set in the beautiful historic McCormick mansion, but the prime rib is by far one of the best I’ve ever had. I would fly back tomorrow just for a repeat of this meal if I could.

Flavor: 10

We had the Lawry cut, which is $47 and comes with the famous spinning salad, Yorkshire pudding and mashed potatoes.

We shared this, which is why there’s a vertical emergency C-section scar on the meat in this pic (they plated it separately and I re-joined the meat for the photo).

I was blown away by this. It was so tender and juicy, so much flavor, and an incredible cap. I wish they had a location in NYC. They serve it with two types of horseradish: a cream and raw/grated.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 10

You actually have a pretty great selection of cuts here for a place that mainly focuses on just prime rib. next time I’d like to try the rib eye (roasted prime rib which is then grilled and seared) and maybe the English cut prime rib. They’re missing the strip steak and porterhouse, but who cares. I’m not even going to take points away for that, since you have like 19 sizes of prime rib to choose from.

Portion Size & Plating: 10

Portions here are large and you get a great deal of food for the price. Everything is plated nicely, and the table side service for the spinning salad and prime rib cart is truly awesome.

Price: 10

Despite the silly “share charge” of $15, this place is a friggin steal. For $47 we got the steak, potatoes, Yorkshire pudding and a salad.

Bar: 10

Although there is no real street side view or windows to the outside world, the bar and lounge area is breathtaking.

They make a delicious martini with Chopin vodka, where the olives are stuffed with prime rib and horseradish. Awesome.

My wife had one of their signature cocktails with gin and cucumber that was incredibly refreshing on such a hot day.

And they even have a side entrance to the bar room with a speakeasy vibe to it, called Side Door. Their bar menu gives you access to some of the delicious food in Lawry’s, but it is mostly re-thought for snack type dishes and pub food.

Specials and Other Meats: 7

The prime rib is special itself here. No real need for other items to be marketed, and if they were, I didn’t pay attention. They do offer any other entrees aside from beef or fish, and I respect the shit out of that. Take this category’s score with that in mind. In other words, disregard it.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8

We only had what came with our prime rib; namely, the spinning salad, the Yorkshire pudding and the mashed potatoes.

The spinning salad is called that because they spin a cold metal bowl which tossing it. Romaine lettuce, sliced beets and a thousand island style dressing. Very classic.

The Yorkshire pudding is essentially a pop-over, and it was delicious.

Dessert selections are nice. At first we didn’t order anything. We were full.

But they brought us out an English trifle on the house for our anniversary, which is what we were leaning towards anyway. It was really nice and light. Great cake and great jam.

Seafood Selection: 7

There’s definitely something here for you fans of the sea. Salmon and lobster tails, to be exact. And some sides or starters like shrimp cocktail, of course.

Service: 10

Nothing like it. When you go here, you’ll feel like you stepped back in time. White glove service, extremely friendly and attentive waitresses, but not overcrowding or annoying. Very knowledgeable too, I might add. Here’s the inside of that prime rib service cart pictured above. Heaven.

 

The bread was basic, but the butter was soft and spreadable.

They paid attention to what we put on our OpenTable reservation, and we were greeted with a ribbon on our table, and treated to a free dessert.

Our waitress knew the Lawry’s Chicago story in and out. The space used to be a private mansion. It is absolutely stunning inside.

Ambiance: 10

This place is beautiful. I mentioned above that it used to be a private mansion (the McCormick family).

I’ve never seen a more elegant dining room.

Nice details in this joint. Check out this stained glass window in the lounge/bar area:

Bottom line, go here! This was my favorite meal in months.

LAWRY’S THE PRIME RIB
100 E Ontario St
Chicago, IL 60611

Gene & Georgetti

Gene & Georgetti overall score: 77

Another old timey Chicago joint that my wife and I hit on our trip was Gene & Georgetti.

This Italian place has been slinging food since 1941 with steak as their specialty.

The air conditioning was indeed comfortable, as the front of the menu suggests. In any case, we did a somewhat smaller meal here, as we were still a bit full from lunch and I knew I wanted to get another Italian beef sandwich later that night.

Flavor: 6

We shared the smaller cut porterhouse, which is generally meant for one. I think it was 24oz.

It was cooked nicely to medium rare throughout, and it was tender. Every bit of it was devoured. The down side was that it didn’t have a great char on it, and the flavor was a little weak, though it was indeed properly seasoned. There is certainly potential here.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 8

This place covers the four steakhouse basics and then some, with different sizing of each. Most of the beef is wet-aged, with the exception of the tomahawk special.

Portion Size & Plating: 8

Portions are good here. No complaints whatsoever. I think the plating is typical of old time steak joints: a semi-fancy plate with the item plated neatly in the center.  No fluffy bullshit; I respect that.

Price: 8

At this point I was starting to get used to Chicago steakhouse pricing. The marked up items are generally the dry-aged stuff or the specials. The single cut porterhouse came in at about $55, which is closer to NYC pricing, but it did come with a soup or salad as well as a potato. Not too bad.

Bar: 7

The bar here is a mid-century modern stretch at which I would be happy to sit and have a drink.

There’s a great plaque on the wall at the bar with an excellent quote:

And as for the drinks themselves, they’re nicely mixed. I had a negroni since this is an Italian steakhouse. It was delicious.

Specials and Other Meats: 8

They had a few items on special. Let me grab the menu for you:

Maybe we should have tried that tomahawk.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 7

Aside from dessert, we really only tried the soup, salad and potato that came with our entrees. They had a shrimp appetizer that sounded like scampi that seemed interesting to me. Next time.

Nothing too impressive here, but all of it reminded me of what my mom used to make at home when I was growing up. Just not quite as good. Their “Garbage Salad” sounded way more appealing, and we should have ordered that instead. It has all sorts of meats and cheeses in it, which would have been exactly like my mom’s. The potatoes were just under-seasoned and under-crisped. Mom’s are better than these too.

Dessert was great, and it was a much appreciated gift on the house.

That’s pistachio, coconut, chocolate and strawberry ice cream. Keeping it simple! I like it.

Seafood Selection: 8

There are a bunch of seafood entrees here, but we decided to try a seafood pasta for our second main course. A classic: linguini with white clam sauce.

This was great. Not only was there an abundance of clams in the shell, but the sauce was also made with minced clams as well. Very flavorful, with perfectly cooked pasta.

Service: 10

Top notch service here. Attention to detail, nice staff, and they pay attention to what you write on your OpenTable reservations. I was also a huge fan of their bread sticks.

Ambiance: 7

I love the old feel to this place, but I think it might be time for an update. The original touches and details can definitely remain, but maybe some spit shining can happen. I wish I was able to check out the upstairs, but it seemed like there was a private event going on up there. The two dining rooms downstairs were nice though.

GENE & GEORGETTI
500 N Franklin St
Chicago, IL 60654

Gibson’s

Gibson’s overall score: 87

On my first trip to Chicago, I made it a point to hit as many of the old classic steakhouses that I could. Naturally, Gibson’s was my first stop on that list.

Flavor: 7

W.R. Chicago Cut: 8

The WR Chicago Cut is a bone-in wet-aged rib eye. They nailed the medium rare cook temp, and the texture was tender and juicy. It had a great broiled crust as well. The only thing missing was that punch of flavor that I’ve come to love with dry-aging. Otherwise this was a great steak.

Prime Rib: 6

Unfortunately a big portion of this was chewy and not the greatest quality. The cap, however, was incredible. Despite the lighting here, the roast was pretty accurate to medium rare, with some edges coming closer to medium.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 8

Everything here is the proprietary Gibson’s brand of Angus beef, which they farm out of several ranches nearby. Everything is wet-aged, with the exception of the dry-aged tomahawk. They offer all of the basic four cuts in various sizes and preparations, and they are presented nicely by the waiter before you order.

Portion Size & Plating: 9

Portions are pretty good here. The side of broccolini was three huge bunches. The slice of lemon meringue pie was cartoon sized. Plating is fairly basic, but they did a beautiful job with the beef carpaccio.

Price: 9

We had a lot of food for the price here, and it was pretty refreshing to see that some cuts were even under $40.

Bar: 10

This place has a gorgeous, big bar room and lounge beside the main entrance. A perfect place to have a drink. And, of course, they mix a nice Gibson as well.

Specials and Other Meats: 8

The waiter read off a few specials but I didn’t really pay attention, as I was LASER focused on the steaks. Their dry-aged tomahawk is considered a regular special, it seems. Nothing else was offered in the realm of meat cuts. Lamb, pork and chicken are available for alternative proteins.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8

One of the cool things about this place is that they give you a soup or house salad with your entree. This is probably common outside of the NYC steakhouse scene, but I thought it was pretty nice. Anyway, the beef carpaccio was our favorite of the accompaniments. It was beautiful and delicious. One of the best I’ve had.

House salad with blue cheese.

Soup of the day – lobster bisque.

Side of spicy roasted broccolini (this was lacking in spice and flavor, and had some unappealing lemon seeds on it).

Massive lemon meringue pie.

Seafood Selection: 9

There were five different seafood entrees on the menu, which makes for a wide variety. They offered salmon, white fish, lobster, bass and halibut.

Service: 9

Our waiter was awesome, knowledgeable and friendly. The bread selection was nice and warm, and the butter was soft.

Ambiance: 10

This place is gorgeous, so no wonder it’s a Chicago icon. There is ample seating indoors and outdoors, lots of elbow room and space, really beautiful and classic fixtures, and  old school decor. I love it.

GIBSON’S
1028 N Rush St
Chicago, IL 60611

Char House

Char House overall score: 74

NOTE: THIS PLACE IS CLOSED!

Char House is a new Chinese style steakhouse on Mott Street in Chinatown. I tried a nice variety of stuff here, so I think I got a good sense of the restaurant’s capabilities. Check it out:

Flavor: 8

Wagyu Sirloin: 8/10

This baby had a nice char on the outside, it was well seasoned and was perfectly cooked to medium rare inside. The cut itself was a little chewy, but for the price this wasn’t too bad.

Porterhouse: 7/10

This lacked a little seasoning, and didn’t have too great of a char. It did pack some nice dry-aged flavor though. Another miss here was that the filet side was overcooked.

Frenched Rib Eye: 8/10

This had a nice sized cap that packed a good amount of dry aged flavor. The steak had a nice char and it was pretty much cooked correctly – perhaps a bit on the rare side.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 9

The beef here comes from DeBragga, so you know you’re getting good quality. Char House does some additional aging in-house as well, and they develop some really nice flavors. As far as cuts go, they offer two large format rib eyes, a single cut rib eye, a strip, a porterhouse, the wagyu sirloin and a filet. That’s an impressive selection for a small steak joint.

Portion Size & Plating: 8

Portions here are pretty good. The large format cuts that I tried clocked in at 36oz each. Each were meaty enough to feed two, although the filet side of the porterhouse was a bit on the small size. Sized and apps were nicely portioned.

Price: 8

The porterhouse and rib eye came out to $114 each (they charge by the ounce), which was a fair price, though a bit high compared to other small mom and pop style steakhouses. One item that stuck out as a bit pricey was the XO shrimp ($14 for three shrimp).

Bar: 3

This joint doesn’t have a bar. They offer some wine and sake selections, and I think some loose beer selections on ice in the front near the host station, but there are no seats at that area (which looks like a bar). I was hoping for some interesting Asian inspired cocktails. Oh well. Maybe in time they will build the bar out.

Specials and Other Meats: 7

I don’t recall our waiter or the host telling us about any specials, but they do offer roast chicken and pork ribs. I was hoping for some duck, being this is a Chinese joint, but no luck.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8

Crab Cake

I really enjoyed this. It was reminiscent of the classic Chinese shrimp toast dish, only with crab instead.

XO Shrimp

These were nicely cooked and prepared, but I feel like $14 is too much for just three shrimp.

7 Spice Corn Brulee

This was really tasty. Creamy corn pudding, in a sense, with a great spice profile.

Sweet Soy Glaze Bacon

This was nice as well. Not in my top five, but definitely something I would order again if I came back. It had good sweetness to balance the savory.

Sesame Mashed Potatoes

This was a nice take on mashed potatoes. The toasted sesame flavors definitely bring you into the wheelhouse of Asian flavors.

Skillet Brownie a la Mode

This was a nice dessert. Not too sweet, as the chocolate was nicely balanced with dark bittersweet as well as melty milk chocolate.

Seafood Selection: 8

There’s a whole fish as well as “Lobster Dynamite” on the menu here for entrees. Again I was hoping to see a bit more variety from a Chinatown steak joint, but I bet that whole fish is great. I’d like to try that if I go back.

Service: 7

The service was awkward. It was a Friday night at 7pm, and the restaurant was only half full at best, so I would have expected a bit more “on top of things” service. There seemed to just be one waiter, and the hostess ended up being our server for half of the meal. It also took a while to get the check, but everyone was super friendly and hospitable, and they even threw in some complimentary apps and sides. No bad attitudes or anything like that – very nice people, and everything on the menu was explained to us perfectly.

One thing to note here is the awesome bread basket. It comes with a variety of chips: sweet potato, taro, shrimp and regular potato. I particularly liked the inclusion of the shrimp chips. And the bread was super hot and fresh. Lovely.

Ambiance: 8

They did a great job with the space here. It feels both like a steakhouse and like a downtown Chinese restaurant. The music selection was a chill mix of electronic lounge type music and hip hop, and the lighting wasn’t too dim, but wasn’t too bright either.

CHAR HOUSE
43 Mott St
New York, NY 10013