Serious Eats: Chicago
A Sandwich a Day: Steak Sandwich at The Grafton
The Grafton in Lincoln Square is one of those pubs with an epic burger list. Sure, there are a few nods to a traditional Irish pub menu—beef stew, full Irish breakfast—but mostly it's just gargantuan burgers topped with a myriad different options. That those burgers happen to be good and the neighborhood atmosphere lively and engaging, ensures that this place stands out from other pubs. But even the non-ground meat sandwich options follow the same formula.
In the case of the steak sandwich ($10.95) that means sliced beef loaded up with grilled red pepper and onions, cheddar cheese, and basil aioli. It's an odd mix, and one that would benefit from a little editing (the cheddar cheese, in particular, doesn't need to be here). I'd also lose the tough and dry pretzel roll, which may work for the fatty burgers, but is way too dry here. As is the case with most steak sandwiches these days, some jus is served on the side, which you're meant to use with the sandwich. But it's better suited to the mashed potatoes, which unlike the sandwich, are straightforward and completely satisfying.