Unique Dining Experiences at Chicago's One-of-a-Kind Steakhouses

Chicago is home to many national and international steakhouses like Smith & Wollensky, Morton’s, STK, and many other excellent places to enjoy USDA prime. At these restaurants, you know what you’re going to get and it’s going to be great.


Chicago, however, loves steak, and so many smaller one-of-a-kind steakhouses dot the city and suburbs. These one-off places are not part of a larger organization but are likely just single restaurants, unaffiliated with any other restaurant, not outposts of a larger restaurant group.


Here are five Chicago restaurants, independent palaces of red meat, unaffiliated with any larger system of steakhouses, offering unique dining experiences you cannot enjoy anywhere else.


About Last Knife. With a name that derives from a famous Chicago-based play that became a movie, “About Last Night,” you know that this is a steakhouse that could only exist in Chicago. What you absolutely must have when you visit About Last Night is the Beef Wellington, done up right in a pastry shell enclosing a succulent hunk o’ beef with a blanket of Duxelles mushrooms. There’s lots more on the menu – like the well-regarded ALK burger and a classic ribeye – but a classic Beef Wellington is something you won’t find everywhere, and you won’t find a place like About Last Knife anywhere else than Chicago.


Tavern on Rush. There’s only one Rush Street and only one Tavern on Rush. At this Chicago original steakhouse, you can enjoy the relaxed cocktail bar atmosphere or sit down at a table and be served some of the finest pieces of red meat you’ll find anywhere. We’re particularly fond of the porterhouse (24 and 28 ounces) and the Chateaubriand for two. The big Chateaubriand is not something you’re going to find at a lot of steak places, and you want to get one from a place that knows what they’re doing. Tavern on Rush knows what they’re doing, and they’ll make you a Chateaubriand, or any other kind of steak, to remember.


Chicago Firehouse Restaurant. There’s a lot of character and personality to the Chicago Firehouse Restaurant, which was formerly the big brick home to Engine Company 104, built in 1905. On the menu, traditional and characteristic favorites: USDA prime 16 oz. Delmonico and a 20 oz. Dry-Aged Bone-In Ribeye. These are all magnificent, and huge, pieces of meat, the kind of big beefsteak you’d want to have before or after putting out a big fire.


Chicago Chop House. With a piano player serenading you and a selection of steaks to wow you, the Chicago Chop House reflects an earlier era of Chicago dining. On the menu, meat: five Wagyu Reserve A9 steaks, and a large range of USDA prime steaks, both dry- and wet-aged. If you like steak, with a side of Chicago history, The Chicago Chop House is the kind of Chicago original you’ll want to visit: it’s cozy, it’s old school, it’s Chicago.


El Che Steakhouse & Bar. John Manion’s El Che Steakhouse & Bar is a unique reflection of his boyhood experiences in Brazil and Argentina, with a focus on meat, cooked over fire. That’s why Phil Vettel of the Chicago Tribune named him a “Master of the Flame.” On the menu are a range of flame-kissed meats, including the Parrillada, which is a collection of beautifully grilled meats including beef short rib, bife angosto, sweetbreads, morcilla, chorizo, marrow bone, salsa criolla, and, for a small upgrade, a ribeye steak. The Parrillada is the kind of dish you’d rarely find in any city, and you won’t find El Che Steakhouse & Bar anywhere but in Chicago.

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