The Portuguese word “chama” translates to “flame,” which certainly suits Chama Gaucha Brazilian Steakhouse’s penchant for spicing things up. The tantilizing aromas of grilled meat waft from the kitchen’s charcoal grills, settling above a dining room where gauchos carve meats off skewers or expertly lasso drink orders. The refreshingly pared-down menu is divided according to the different cuts of beef, pork, chicken, or lamb available.
The lengua burritos, Jarritos, and red and green sauces that smother enchiladas aren't the only authentic south-of-the-border touches at Changarro Cocina. Its drink list also brings some traditional flavor. The granite bar area, part of the new owner's renovations, hosts more than 70 different tequilas and margaritas made fresh without any mixers. Patrons sip these beverages while nibbling ceviche, huaraches, and tortas and cheering on soccer matches, baseball games, and ice-fishing tournaments broadcast on TVs throughout the restaurant.
Taste of Brasil regales visitors with the country’s best flavors in the form of rich stews, steaks, sandwiches, and sweets. Though full of Portuguese terms, the menu caters to English speakers by clearly describing each traditional entrée, such as feijoada, Brazil’s national dish comprised of a black-bean stew swimming with smoked pork and sausage, and picanha sandwiches filled with the country’s most popular cut of steak. Diners can complement their hearty main dishes with colorful salpicao salads, slow-cooked lentil soups, and light, fluffy mango mousse. After guests quell exotic cravings, they cheer on their favorite team during World Cup viewing parties, or don masks and dance during lively masquerade balls.
In 1967, Benny and Joy Leonardo decided it was time the world got a taste of the family’s Italian cooking, maybe with a side of prime-aged beef. They founded Mr. Benny’s Steak & Lobster House, an enduring fine dining establishment that dishes up fine meats and fresh seafood in hot, Italian-style entrees. They’ve changed locations and expanded over the years, but the fine eats the restaurant serves at its two locations maintain the same spirit as the original spot. In Matteson, chefs sling steaks in an almost entirely brick structure, the interior warmly lit by chandeliers and wall sconces. Outside the window, privacy bushes enclose a small garden of statuary. Meanwhile, the Mokena restaurant boasts hand-painted murals and a brick-laid patio for al fresco dining, as long as weather permits and the sun hasn’t retired to another galaxy.
A family-owned-and-operated establishment, the idea for Jenny's Steak House sprouted more than 60 years ago in a small pub on Chicago's South Side. These days, chefs still whip up menu items that the family concocted all those years ago, such as potato pancakes, braised lamb shanks, and oxtail soup. The culinary maestros at Jenny's Steak House also grill hand-cut steaks smeared with a special seasoning blend, pair wraps and sandwiches with homemade Idaho potato chips, and blacken, broil, or fry fresh seafood. Meanwhile, the pizza kitchen dispenses pies until 1 a.m., at which time all the uncooked dough and pepperoni turn into a magical pizza carriage. The lounge accommodates guests even later as they relax with martinis, local brews, or wine while enjoying evening entertainment such as live music and karaoke.
Branmor's stable of protein pugilists is home to a heavyweight assortment of steaks and chophouse standbys. Tempt taste bids with savory starters such as the gorgonzola bruschetta ($9) or calamari fritters ($9) before selecting from the eight signature, sear-seeking styles of steak. Stay classic with the filet mignon (7 oz., $24+), kick up piquant clouds with the chimichurri hangar steak ($23), or let mouths marvel at the mushroom and blue cheese-laden grid iron steak, which combines disciplined preparation with tender tastes in a way unseen since the all-linebacker production of Swan Lake ($22). Branmor's block of menu mainstays also includes australian lamb chops ($31), dijon-drizzled pretzel chicken ($19), and Walt's well-rubbed barbecued ribs ($14 for half, $22 for full).