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The Chicago Traveler

Nothing Says "Chicago" Like Chicago Chop House

by Matt B on May 17th, 2008

Whenever you travel to a new city, the last thing you want to do is eat out at a restaurant that you could find just about everywhere. What's the fun in touring a new city and then eating at a fast food chain? If you want a dining experience that is uniquely Chicago, then head on over to the Chicago Chop House in the River North neighborhood (less than a block from Portillo's).

chicago chop houseThe Chop House is decorated with over 1,000 historical photos, providing looks into the Windy City's past. There are scenes of Chicago when rush hour traffic was a group of horses! One wall is covered with the photographs of Chicago's past mayors and politicians, and another wall features Chicago's famous gangsters. Of course, the old joke is that sometimes you can't tell the difference between the two walls. Ha!

The century-old Victorian building itself is a piece of history; it was one of the first buildings restored after the Great Chicago Fire. Because of its location downtown and its stylish appearance, it is a frequent destination for tourists, but locals will feel right at home too. This is the refined, classy side of the Midwestern 'meat and potatoes.'

The Chop House's three floors are full of brass railings and deep green walls with wood accents. Corporate types in suits relax in this fine-dining establishment, enjoying the conservative and quiet atmosphere. While smoking is no longer allowed in Chicago restaurants, it's not too difficult to imagine the cigar smoke that used to linger around the main bar. It's 'old Chicago' at its prime.

chicago chop houseBegin your meal with a half dozen Blue Point oysters, fried calamari, or baked oysters Rockefeller. Or go all out with the seafood appetizer platter, featuring twin broiled lobster tails, crab legs, fried shrimp, and crab cakes. The 64-oz porterhouse, 16- and 24-oz New York strips, and 16-oz filet mignon are all served charred and full of flavor. All steaks are hand-cut on the premises to ensure quality. And while meat is the specialty, the menu lists some great seafood options as well like broiled Alaskan king crab legs and 14-oz or 28-oz broiled lobster tail. Sides are served a la carte; the Chop House is known for its 'fries' (baked potatoes sliced and saut'ed) and its potato pancakes served with sour cream and applesauce. The award-winning Wine List offers a broad selection (550 bottles!) from around the world, and individual glasses range from $6 to $14. Desserts (sundae, sorbet, cheesecake, pie, etc) are simple but delicious, and all of them cost $5.50.

Just a note: There is a dress code here: business-casual. Jacket and tie are not required, but no T-shirts, hats, or short shorts. Jeans are fine, as long as they are in good condition. It's worth dressing up a bit for the dressed-down steaks, many served without sauce to distract from the robust taste. This downtown oasis will definitely leave you licking your chops.

Photo credit: (c/o Flickr) pdxsurreal, meagan.lloyd

Chicago Chop House ($$$$): 60 W Ontario St; 312-787-7100
Mon ' Fri: 11:30 a.m. ' 4:00 p.m.
Sun ' Thurs: 4:00 p.m. ' 11:00 p.m.
Fri ' Sat: 4:00 p.m. ' 11:30 p.m.
Piano Bar
Mon ' Fri: 5:00 p.m. ' 11:00 p.m.
Sat: 6:00 p.m. ' 11:00 p.m.
Sun: 6:00 p.m. ' 10:30 p.m.
Street parking difficult, valet available
Public trans: Bus # 22, 36, 125

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POSTED IN: Restaurants

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