Steak 48 - Chicago
Of this relatively new restaurant, Sarah Freeman writes in Urban Daddy that “This place takes a new-school approached to seared beef. Once you make it past the cleaver wall, you’ll find two floors of glass-encased dining rooms dotted with white-clothed tables, an open kitchen with an oyster-filled raw bar and a… wood bar just to show off. While it might not look like your dad’s steakhouse, it definitely tastes like it. Bone-in filets are seared under an 1800-degree broiler before arriving at your table...Sides range from your classic creamed spinach to your straight-up extravagant king crab and shrimp mac and cheese. To say nothing of the daily Wagyu selection.”
Steak 48, though it’s clearly a blend of the old and the new, also benefits from a hefty addition of the downright whimsical.
Starting with the starters, the Chef’s PB&J is a “sandwich” of fig jam and pate, the sweet fruit comfiture playing off the deep and funky notes of the liver paste: not something you’d expect to see on a steak house menu. Then there’s the deviled eggs, rolled in panko, seasoned with sriracha and finally fried; you’ve had deviled eggs, and you’ve had fried eggs, but for many of us, this is a new one.
The slightly off-center menu approach continues into the steak section, where you can get a steak farina, the bone-in filet topped with an egg. There’s also a meat loaf; that’s right, your mom’s standby is also available at Steak 48, but here it’s made with filet, rib eye, black truffle and green peppercorn; it might be the best meat loaf you’ve ever tucked into (sorry mom!).
It’s hard to discuss Steak 48 without recognizing the magnificent space that houses the restaurant. As noted in “Chicago Now”: “Highlights include an 800-square-foot patio (with breathtaking views of Medinah Temple) where a second beautiful bar is located, a floor-to ceiling glass expo kitchen, intimate dining kitchen suites and multiple dining rooms featuring gorgeous architectural details. The wine program includes 50 wines-by-the-glass and over 150 by-the-bottle!”
The décor of Steak 48 is, indeed, something to behold. There’s a 3,000-bottle wine vault to greet you as you enter, several semi-private dining suites that allow diners to peek into the kitchen while they eat, a second-floor deck for the panoramic views, as well as a bar on the first floor and a “dining bar” on the second floor (reservations required for that one).
Wine and steak are a natural pairing, and as you might expect, the wine list at Steak 48 tends toward the reds, although there’s a very good selection of whites as well. Many of the wines, both red and white, are available by the glass.
Desserts pull through the whimsical theme with fresh baked beignets that can be plucked from a “beignet tree” beside a pool of Nutella ganache and crème Anglaise. The Cookies n’ Cream Popcorn Sundae is vanilla gelato with chocolate source and popcorn. Outlandish enough for you? Then how about S’Mores in a Jar? It’s the marshmallow, the chocolate, the graham crackers. In a jar.
On the topic of grahams, you can get Graham’s port, as well as Taylor Fladgate and a few other versions of this Portuguese after-dinner drink. However, let’s say, hypothetically, that Amazon has bought your company for twice the asking price, you’re feeling flush, and you want to celebrate in a way that you may never have before. In that case (and it could happen, right?), consider a two-ounce pour of the Remy Martin Louis XIII cognac, the stuff of legend. Created in the mid-19th century, Louis XIII is a blend of up to 1,200 grapes, all 100% Grande Champagne, the first cru of the Cognac region. The servers will bring the decanter to the table (you might want to ask), and it is a sight to behold: each bottle is numbered and based on a 16th century decanter unearthed at the battle of Jarnac, now mouth-blown by artisan craftsmen. That two-ounce sniffer will run you over $500 – but hey, how many days do you close a multi-million-dollar deal?!
In a town that seems like it has more steak restaurants than any town should be allowed to have, Steak 48 proves that when it comes to excellent places to go for meat, Chicago is a city with an almost unlimited appetite.