Rest assured, that’s a Bears “Da’” not a random way to start a beer commercial.
One of the most common Chicago debates is about steakhouses. It seems that almost everyone you ask will have a different favorite in the city, and that any given spot can inspire high praise or serious disdain depending on who you ask. I’ve heard plenty of people say that Gene and Georgetti’s is the best steakhouse of all time (“unique and homey”), and just as many say that it’s the worst (“if you’re not a regular, they couldn’t care less about you”). Because the steakhouses are fairly diverse in their approaches to cooking and (a little less so) their ambiance, this isn’t a big surprise. Given all of this, it’s important to weigh your own preferences when considering steakhouses.
For instance, I do not like particularly salty food, so Tavern on Rush does not quite do it for me. It can appeal to those who like a heavy-handed approach to salt. Also, I have had many colleagues over the years that sing the praises of The Capital Grille. However, my steaks there have tended to be ok, but seemed to ride on what I would consider to be fairly gimmicky sauces and rubs. I’m more interested in top-flight steak quality that doesn’t need the extra fluff to be delicious. However, I don’t mind having the option of adding a little flavor to a steak if needed. Some places that take good care in how they handle their steaks (like n9ne) do not give any extra flavor options. Others will specialize in seriously charring the steak (Morton’s) and others pretty much stick to prime rib (Lawry’s). Of course, none of this even takes into account the differences in atmosphere at these places. Plenty of steakhouses have the old dark wood look, while some of the newer ones have an ultra-modern style (n9ne).
So, those last two paragraphs were just a really long-winded way to help explain why Primehouse is my go-to steakhouse in Chicago. Is the preparation of the steaks top-notch? Yes, in fact it’s probably the most thoughtful and unique aging process anywhere. The cuts are dry-aged (difficult and expensive) in a dedicated Himalayan aging salt room, and the aging process can go for a very long time. Steaks that are aged longer take on quite a bit of extra flavor and complexity. They even track the steaks from the actual animal to your plate and they all come from a particular genetic line. Is the seasoning appropriate? Yes, but in a roundabout way. The steaks are flavorful enough on their own (thanks to the aging process) and don’t require much seasoning at all. However, if you want some sort of a sauce to go with your steak, that’s not a problem, too. For a truly over-the-top experience, get a blue cheese sauce.
The atmosphere at Primehouse is like a modernized version of the classic steakhouse and the unique menu items and steak preparations fit along with the profile. For me, it is a very comfortable dining experience. They also do a very good job with the sides and desserts. The selections are more interesting than in most traditional steakhouses. In short, there is a lot to like about Primehouse given my preferences for steak dining.
So, what’s the kicker? I’m a huge fan of value (maybe a cheapskate), and the Primehouse SHAKENSteak lunch is the best steak deal I have ever been privy to. Given my history of daily special tracking and coupon clipping, that’s pretty remarkable. So, if you are a fan of truly excellent meat and an innovative (by steakhouse standards, which tend to be a bit stodgy) menu, Primehouse is the way to go in Chicago.