A few weeks ago I posted an Open Thread asking where to find the best steak in Chicago, because I had no idea where to start. The city has its fair share of big name steakhouses, and I hadn't been to any of them: I've never set foot in Gibson's, Gene & Georgetti, Lawry's, Morton's, Mastro's, or Joe's, and the list could go on. I genuinely love steak, but I just can't afford to squander $50 for one, especially with all the a la carte sides and mandatory glasses of dry red wine (those are mandatory, right?). I'm hoping to solve this by visiting one a month for the next year, so that I don't blow my entire budget in one stupendously fatty week.
But what I wasn't expecting was for the Open Thread to turn into a love fest for David Burke's Primehouse. As one commenter wrote, "There is no answer other than David Burke's." Fair enough.
I am certain that no other place in Chicago cares about dry aging steak in quite the same way. The cuts are dry aged on premise in a room lined with tiles made of pink Himalayan salt. Then there's the exceptional beef, which can be traced back to the restaurant's very own Black Angus bull named Prime. (Fun fact! According to the website: "[Prime] ranks in the top 2% of the active 14,361 Angus bulls in the United States with recorded purebred offspring.")
Which explains why I found myself nearly trembling with excitement while staring at the gorgeous 40 Day Bone-in Ribeye ($51) at David Burke's. It certainly looked impressive, with a gorgeous browned exterior and meat cooked exactly to medium rare. But it was all the things I couldn't see that truly set this steak apart. As I expected, each bite was deeply beefy at first, but without any greasy mouthfeel. Part of that was due to the faint mineral tang at the end, which acted like a sharp knife cutting through the occasional burst of blue cheese funk. This is beef with a purpose.
Honestly, I probably should have started my steakhouse hunt elsewhere, because I'm having a hard time imaging another steak topping this one.