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When people look at me, they don’t think, “She can easily consume an 18-ounce ribeye.” They would, in fact, be wrong. My parents used to take me to a fabulous steakhouse in West Palm Beach, Florida called Raindancer (to this day, it remains my favorite restaurant – whether for nostalgia or taste, I don’t know). My six-year-old self would precociously order the 12-ounce filet mignon. In response, the stunned server would ask if I wanted the petit filet. “Absolutely not,” my meat-loving, childhood self would reply. And I would proceed to finish the entire carnivorous feast, complete with steak fries, béarnaise sauce and a salad bar (green goddess garlic dressing, please). Hence, my love affair with red meat began.
How fortunate am I to have moved to the steak capital of the country? In a city where steakhouses never go out of style, we’ve got a new trendsetter on the block. Chicago Cut Steakhouse has the old-school, classic, Sinatra-loving vibe that we all love, but it’s über new school. When you sit down and have your wine list delivered to you via iPad, you know you’re not at Gibsons anymore.
Whether it’s the iPad’s 35,872,352 gigabytes of memory or the viticulture expertise of the owners and staff, the wine list is incredibly selective and…enormous (just like I like my steak). Divided by price, region or basically any other organizational tactic imaginable, this was the most fun I ever had ordering wine.
And the wine was made to pair with the very classic steakhouse menu. The lovely, crisp Cloudy Bay 2009 Sauvignon Blanc paired beautifully with our seafood appetizers (as did the Darioush 2009 Viognier). Knowing full well we’d be in red meat ecstasy during our main course, we ordered the simple Bluefin tuna tartare starter – which was good, but couldn’t hold an underwater flashlight to the Tristan tails, miniature lobster tails from “off the coast of nowhere” (according to our server, who was excellent, by the way). These were the most succulent, sweet, tender, delicious little pieces of seafood-y goodness I have ever tasted. Thank you, very knowledgeable server. He told us we couldn’t miss these and, damn, was he right.
My mouth was officially salivating while waiting for my soon-to-be-delivered, rare bone-in New York strip. I am a filet mignon girl through and through (especially when it’s on the bone, as they serve it at Chicago Cut), but the strip came highly recommended, and said server was not even close to being wrong about those tails. My first foray into the world of strip steak was decadent, flavorful, melt-in-your-mouth, to-die-for fabulous. Lucky me, I got the best of both worlds because Boyfriend ordered the bone-in filet mignon. Boo-ya. I win.
Chicago Cut’s elusive 1999 Mondavi Cabernet Reserve served as our dessert.
Ignorant folk may easily claim that all steakhouses are the same. Wrong-o. They are not. And when you have a Meat Mecca like Chicago Cut Steakhouse in the ‘hood, you’ll understand what it takes to be a cut above.
(Yes, I ended with a pun. I’m still happily delirious from the surf and turf.)