Final Cut Steakhouse - Joliet
Sometimes, the search for the best Chicago steak leads you to a spot in the ‘burbs. If that’s the case for you, head out to the suburb of Joliet (made famous by association with Elwood Blues’ brother, Joliet Jake) and hit up Final Cut Steakhouse. The restaurant, located in Hollywood Casino, leans heavily on the Old Hollywood theme (final cut, right?), and features the top-grade beef and seafood that diners demand. And while the casino setting implies cheap, feedbag-sized portions to diners of a certain age, that misconception couldn’t be farther from the reality. In fact, satisfied beef seekers collectively decided in 2015 to bestow an OpenTable Diner’s Choice award on Final Cut. As it turns out, good steak doesn’t begin and end at the Chicago city limits.
Beginning to end, the Final Cut menu is a tribute to what’s worked for generations. Appetizers include shrimp cocktail, crab cakes, and oysters Rockefeller alongside marinated lamb chops with bacon slaw and a balsamic reduction. Soups offer the choice of rich French onion soup with bubbly melted Swiss cheese or a light, fresh crab and corn chowder contrasted with an umami-rich Parmesan crisp.
Salads often get second (or third, or fourth) billing at steakhouses, but they provide the necessary lightness and acidity that empowers diners to charge onward through an unctuous slab of prime cattle. In that sense, salads are darn near a public service, and an unappreciated one at that. Final Cut doesn’t skimp on this necessary mortar to the steakhouse menu primary attraction. They offer the classic steakhouse wedge salad with blue cheese, bacon and ranch, but also a refreshing field greens salad with dried fruit and nuts, a tangy panzanella with peppers and olives. There’s also a classic Caesar, and a tomato salad brightened by basil and creamy mozzarella.
But the real star of the show (get it? Hollywood!) is the meat. It’s straight from the Midwest, seasoned simply with salt and pepper and cooked under a broiler before being finished with butter. You can pick from an 8 ounce center-cut filet, a 12 ounce New York strip, 14 ounce ribeye, 16 ounce prime rib, 24 ounce porterhouse, and a huge 30 ounce dry-aged bone-in tomahawk ribeye. Basically, there’s a perfect size for every eater. And in the event you think you’ll need more, add on a lobster tail, garlic shrimp, or crab Oscar. Then, choose from eight garnishes, including béarnaise, horseradish cream, parmesan, or soft sautéed Cipollini onions.
For non-steak options, the fish selections include Scottish salmon with kale, fennel and red onion and a pretzel-crusted Alaskan halibut. There’s also a lobster ravioli in a brandied cream sauce, French cut chicken breast, and bright, citrus-forward scallops.
Sides include all manner of potatoes, sautéed spinach, and four cheese mac. And desserts run the classic steakhouse gamut—carrot cake to crème brulee to chocolate.
If you visit on Wednesday, Thursday, or Sunday, you’ll have a chance to order the three-course chef’s prix fixe menu. Start with a rich French onion soup or classic Caesar, then take your pick of filet, prime rib, fish, or pasta for the main course—accompanied by Yukon Gold mash, a classic baked potato, or sautéed green beans for those wishing to zag on the classic meat-and-potatoes setup. Cheesecake or lava cake (scratch that—“Decadent molten lava cake”) completes the meal.
While you’re getting your Midwestern meat-and-starch baptism, choose from a massive list of signature martinis, divided into three tiers—Celebrity, Marquee, and Icon. The Celebrity martinis include the classics, like a lemon drop with Absolut Citron and sweet &sour; a Final Cutini with Bombay Sapphire, dry vermouth, and blue cheese olives; and Dirty Harry martini with Tito’s vodka, dry vermouth, and olive juice. The Marquee level hits the trendy sweet flavors of contemporary martinis—pineapple upside down, key lime, and caramel apple. And the Icon level features top-shelf spirits, including Grey Goose, Chambord, and Crystal Head Vodka.
Even if you didn’t walk away from the gaming tables a winner, you’ll sit down a winner at Final Cut, and you’ll walk away feeling as though you won.