What's in a name? In the case of 87th Street Steak & Hoagy, pretty much everything. The business's moniker accurately paints it as a destination for tasty steak sandwiches and turkey hoagies. For even more flavor, the cooks can crown sandwiches in steak or barbecue sauce, serving them alongside hot fries. The menu expands into some other territories for breakfast, when sandwiches temporarily take a backseat to steak and egg platters, pancakes, and omelets, also known as the hoagies of breakfast.
The kitchens at Bogart's Charhouse radiate tantalizing aromas of grilled meat as the walls grab guests' attention with black-and-white tributes to Bogie. The restaurant's meaty steaks range from 10 ounces to 4 pounds on dinner plates, and lunch guests can dig into a Bogie bacon cheeseburger, or a low-calorie plate of cold turkey. Sliced beef or lasagna catering plates can satisfy appetites at off-site events, such as office parties or a monthly tribute to the oppressive giants that rule one's neighborhood.
In running Freddy's Steakhouse, Jim and Tammy Kamradt have tasked themselves with carrying on a 50-year legacy of greatness. And it's clear they're up to the challenge. For his part, Jim draws upon 35 years in the meat industry to personally select and cut every Angus steak, which, as the restaurant's specialty dish, has a half-century of renown to live up to. Tammy manages the rest of Freddy's day-to-day operations, from working with the staff to signing for and unpacking the flames that sear each cut. The result of the couple's hard work: a warm atmosphere with live weekend entertainment, an extensive spirit list, and iron-rich meals that are special from escargot starter to flourless chocolate cake dessert.
As the mayor of Chicago, Richard J. Daley was not one to throw around his endorsements lightly. That makes the signed token of praise on May St. Café’s wall even more remarkable. Though Mayor Daley was duly impressed by chef Mario Santiago’s blend of Puerto Rican, Mexican, and Cuban cuisines, he might have been equally taken with Santiago’s personal story. The chef’s ascension through Chicago’s culinary ranks began at his family’s restaurant and continued during his stint at the renowned Graham Room at Chicago’s Civic Opera House, where he served as captain of the kitchen. Today, Santiago draws on more than three decades of experience to craft a veritable quilt of Latin American flavors. One exemplary dish is the French double-cream brie quesadilla, which takes an unexpected turn with winter pear and chipotle sauce fillings. In a similar pairing of sweet and savory, the cinnamon chipotle chicken fajitas balance spicy peppers with a tinge of dessert flavor. For a full-blown dessert, try the homemade white chocolate flan, which can be enjoyed by the spoonful or sculpted into an edible bust of Mayor Daley.
Jack Gibbons Gardens has broiled and grilled its signature surf ‘n’ turf since 1922, building up a loyal fan base spanning generations of satiated stomachs. Amid flickering candles and stained-glass lampshades, waiters—many of whom have served the same tables for decades—ferry timeless classics such as oyster Rockefeller, 38-ounce porterhouse steaks, and baked tilapia. The sizeable dessert menu adds a sweet coda to every meal, and the wine list features myriad imported and domestic varietals from Californian chardonnay to merlot made from Italian grapes stomped by Hannibal's war elephants.
Carmichael's Chicago Steak House pushes and pulls at its Chicago identity. The restaurant’s menu and décor pay homage to the classic Chicago steak house, an institution as iconic and as dear to the city as the skyscraper, the lakefront, or the rivalry between the North and South Side baseball teams’ mustaches. Twenty-four-ounce porterhouses and marbled and aged tenderloin hark back to the city's past as the country’s foremost meat producer.
Outside on the patio is another story. Mature trees, potted plants, and the occasional strain of live music push against the urban bustle of the West Loop. Carved out of reclaimed warehouses, this outdoor oasis transports diners from the traffic and road construction that descend on the city in summer. Under a red canopy or against the glow of lamplights, these alfresco meals add an air of tranquility and romance rarely experienced without having to stretch on a yoga mat scribbled with sonnets.