In Chicago, discovering reasonably priced steakhouses that have substantial upside is a real trick. For the most part, the well-known places (Morton’s, Ruth Chris, Primehouse, Tavern on Rush, etc.) tend to do an ok steak, but with some variability in quality. The price doesn’t vary much, though. All of these places will hit your wallet fairly hard and, for the most part, offer pretty similar items across the menus.
Taking all the previous paragraph into account, it becomes necessary to look outside the “traditional” steakhouses to find that gem that fits into most people’s budgets. Folklore is pretty close to being that gem. Last Friday, we were able to get in for an early dinner with no problem (this was actually DNS’s third visit). The experience was pretty similar to previous visits.
Folklore definitely lives up to its value proposition. This is the strongest aspect of this restaurant. Two filets with a salad and side dish for $25. That’s a steal, and the spinach mashed potatoes might be the best steakhouse side I’ve ever had. The parillada (mixed grill) has a nice combination of rib meat, filet, sausage, blood sausage and sweet breads.
The menu mostly has red meat, but there are some alternatives for the more health conscious. For Man v. Food enthusiasts, there is a breaded steak with fried eggs on it that got rave reviews from a member of our party.
However, just like other steakhouses, the steak quality can be a bit variable. This last visit, in particular, produced filets that needed to be on higher heat for less time. The outside of the steak was underdone and the middle was overdone. However, this was not the case in previous visits. Also, the chimichurri (olive-oil and herb sauce) is pretty good, but not great. An Argentinian steakhouse probably should spend a lot of time making sure their chimichurri is excellent.
Overall, if you get a meat craving and want a hip, high-end feeling place that won’t cost $100/person, this may be your best bet in the city. Like most places, it gets pretty packed on weekend evenings, so be sure to get reservations.