Tavern at The Park - Chicago
At Millennium Park, Tavern at the Park provides a peaceful respite from the crowds, as well as some of the best prime steak in Chicago.
Millennium Park is the jewel of Chicago’s park system, and one of the premier must-go-to locations in Chicago. Tavern at the Park, situated right in Millennium Park itself, is perfectly located to serve visitors to the city as well as the many business people who work in the Loop. In 2016, Tavern at the Park earned a Concierge Favorite award, which is granted by “Concierge Preferred,” a city guide used in many of the best northside hotels to guide guests to the best the area has to offer.
Tavern at the Park, of course, has more going for it than just location, and in 2016 it also won the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence.
In the “Chicago Tribune,” food critic Phil Vettel was wowed by the steak: “The beef is excellent here — I had a terrific filet mignon and a luxurious rotisserie-roasted prime rib, along with knockout braised short ribs in a red-wine demiglace.”
In addition to the filet, prime rib and short ribs, The Blackhawk Special is a filet basted in garlic butter, grilled and served sizzling on a cast iron plate (it’s not the sizzle, it’s the steak, we know, we know, but there’s nothing like the sound and smell of sizzling steak to get you in the mood for meat, meat and more meat).
The prime bone-in ribeye has been wet-aged for 28 days, and coming in at 18 ounces it’s big enough to share – or big enough to fully satisfy one really big appetite.
The New York strip steak is Midwestern corn-fed angus, prime (of course!) and grilled by chefs who know how to handle a piece of meat.
All steaks are seasoned with kosher salt, crushed black pepper and Tavern steak butter, but if you want to go commando, just ask your server to give it to you straight, no condiments, just tremendously delicious beef.
If you want meat but aren’t in the mood to tackle a steak, consider one of Tavern at the Park’s awesome burgers. There’s the Chicago Fire burger, so called because it’s a sirloin burger with pepper Jack cheese, habanero and sriracha aioli, as well as the chopped steak burger, served with a garden of greenery on top.
Tavern at the Park also offers some interesting options from the sea, including a halibut and lobster succotash as well as Black and Tan fish and chips, Atlantic cod dipped in Black and Tan beer and fried (of course!).
For the “Chicago Reader,” it’s the little things that make Tavern at the Park stand out, explaining that the restaurant: “offers a menu of upscale comfort food with a twist. A chopped salad, for example, has cheddar, green beans, macaroni, bell pepper, hearts of palm, and matchstick potatoes in addition to the standard chicken, bacon, avocado, and blue cheese. The decadent short rib sandwich is made with Traverse City Cherry Cola and topped with Gruyere and crispy onion straws. More decadent still is the rich, scarfable lobster mac 'n' cheese with peas and pancetta, made with six-cheese cream.”
The wine selection is tightly curated, which is a good thing and a relief to those of us who really don’t need a 4,000-bottle listing in a binder the size of a phone book: just show us the good stuff, please. Tavern at the Park also offers a surprisingly large selection of beers, including some Belgian beers and a good quantity of local brews, including Metropolitan Flywheel Bright, Two Brothers Domaine DuPage, Revolution Brewing Eugene Porter, and Half Acre Daisy Cutter. Of course, as this is downtown Chicago, there’s a laudable selection of cocktails, both classic and signature, mixed by people who know what they’re doing.
The Tavern at the Park dessert menu is worthy of more than just an after-dinner glance, with classics (banana cream pie), unique takes on the classics (Key lime crème brulee) and some innovative won’t-find-it-anywhere-else options (salted caramel gelato sliders).
Serving tourists as well as the local business community, Tavern at the Park can prepare box lunches for people who either want to go back to the office to eat at their desks or just sit on to enjoy lunch one of the park benches (recommended only during warm weather). There are also many meeting rooms, appropriate for groups that want to discuss business at a discrete distance from the bustling crowds.
During the warmer months (and yes, such months do exist in Chicago), you might opt to have drinks and bites outdoors at The Treehouse. As at the sidewalk seating patio, The Treehouse does not accept reservations: you can just walk in, grab a table, and start relaxing. During the sometimes-brutal Midwestern winter, you can still enjoy great views of Chicago’s downtown area from the fully heated enclosure. Even in winter, at Tavern at the Park, you will never forget you’re in the park.