Michael Jordan's Steak House - Chicago
With a goal to “elevate the steakhouse experience to the Michael Jordan level,” Michael Jordan’s Steak House invites you to kick off a championship meal at the bar. Cocktail selections resonate with machismo (in a good way) with beverages like Hemingway’s Blackout (Eldorado 8, orgeat, and Luxardo maraschino) and John Wayne’s Last Ride (Woodford Reserve, Cappelletti, Dolin Rouge, Aztec chocolate bitters). There’re also some exceptional pre-dinner wines and beers, bottled and on draft. Really, though, this is a steak house—so please do seriously consider a cocktail.
The 2017 Michelin Guide judges Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse to be “very good,” indeed, and explains, “Leave your dated 1993 Bulls jersey in the closet for a meal at this swanky steakhouse, tucked just off the lobby of the InterContinental Hotel. Leather and velvet accents telegraph an upscale vibe, and references to His Airness are subtle, from oversized sepia photographs of basketball netting to a 23-layer chocolate cake for dessert. A glass of Amarone with a dry-aged Porterhouse is always a slam-dunk, but the kitchen also turns out pleasing modern twists on steakhouse classics. Chicago's famous Italian beef gets an upgrade with smoked ribeye and aged provolone. Similarly, the traditional wedge salad is presented as a halved small head of baby romaine, layered here with creamy Wisconsin blue cheese and thick slabs of crispy bacon.”
About leaving your Bulls jersey at home, yes, that’s a good plan. In fact, there’s a dress code at this upscale restaurant, but nothing too Draconian…and nothing written in stone, but look: Michael Jordan’s Steak House is on Michigan Avenue, the Magnificent Mile, one of the fanciest of Chicago’s fancy pants neighborhoods. You don’t have to wear a suit and a tie, for goodness sakes, but you don’t want to show up in a t-shirt and a thong, either, unless you happen to be the namesake of the place, in which case, come as you are. For the rest of us, business casual or even just casual is fine. Believe us, you’ll be more comfortable if you dress for the occasion of dining at Michael Jordan’s Steak House.
So after drinks, how to start dinner? There are the standard shrimp cocktail and oysters on the half-shell, but what you should really try is a vintage Chicago classic: shrimp DeJonghe, which originated in the late 19th century at DeJonghe’s Hotel and Restaurant, a longtime and long ago fine dining magnet at 12 E. Monroe. This casserole of whole peeled shrimp is blanketed in bread crumbs, perked up with garlic and sherry, and at Michael Jordan’s Steak House, upgraded with black garlic-truffle butter. Another very special appetizer is the deviled bone marrow, with short ribs, arugula and gruyere, a rich and earthy way to get into the meat of the issue.
For modest appetites, there’s the petite filet and the filet mignon, of course, but this is Michael Jordan’s Steak House, so you might want to do dinner in a big way. MJ’s Delmonico is 16 ounces of USDA prime, aged 45 days. Although the Delmonico steak is a classic that originated at Delmonico’s restaurant in the mid-19th century, steak houses sometimes serve a Delmonico that’s bone-in or boneless loin steak; at present day Delmonico’s and at Michael Jordan’s Steak House, it’s a rib-eye…and a classic.
The dry-aged Porterhouse at Michael Jordan’s Steak House is a thing of beauty: 34 ounces, with only arugula and lemon; all it takes is slight bitterness and acidity to set off this magnificent cut of meat.
The steaks at Michael Jordan’s Steak House, like the baller himself, go beyond expectations with small moves that finesse the play. For instance, the petit filet is dressed up with ramps, wild indigenous onions that were harvested by Native Americans on the shores of Lake Michigan and are now treasured by Chicago chefs.
Of course, there are always add-ons, and at Michael Jordan’s Restaurant, these are much more than just after-thoughts. Consider, for instance, the roasted king crab; more than just a side, this crustacean could conceivably be a whole meal for some, or the baked stuffed half-lobster, also with whole meal potential but here just a side-show to the main attraction, which, not surprisingly, is usually meat.
As at so many steak houses, the fish and seafood at Michael Jordan’s Steak House are beyond the level of most everyday restaurants…even some that specialize in gifts of the sea. There’s pan-roasted halibut, rendered exquisite with a shellfish nage, and seared sea scallops with English pea puree and pea shoots that enhance the delicacy of these exquisite sea creatures.
The Michael Jordan theming is pulled through when dessert rolls around. There’s the chocolate cake with 23 layers (get it?!), as well as a sweet potato cheesecake with crème Anglaise. Score!