STK Chicago - Chicago
In an architecturally dramatic space, filled with curves (and no, we’re not talking about the fashion-model servers), the room pulls through a cool wave pattern that’s reflected in the undulating ridges in the ceiling and the circular booths. STK Chicago is probably the most beautiful steakhouse we (and maybe even you) have ever eaten in.
The sleekly cavernous restaurant seats 210, and houses a central bar, a wine bar, three private rooms hidden from view behind purple-tinted glass…and a DJ. Of course there’s a DJ. If you didn’t know better, you might think STK Chicago was as much club as steak house. The dress is sharp, and the STK Chicago website recommends:
"For the ladies, throw on a LBD* and a pair of your favorite heels. For the gents, grab your blazer, throw it over a collared shirt and add the final touch with dress shoes."
*Little black dress
The One Group, which manages this and other STK locations, described STK Chicago as the "sexiest steakhouse experience you've ever had." And when you make claims like that, you can expect some pushback. To wit, smart/snarky Chicago food writer Michael Nagrant of Redeye lets his prose go slightly purple with descriptions like:
The crowd was eclectic, a healthy mix of the clubbing set, over-tanned Viagra triangle denizens exploring beyond their natural Gold Coast habitat and tailored-shirt-wearing, might’ve-played-quarterback-in-college hunks.”
STK Chicago attracts a good looking bunch of humans, but hell, they let us in, so apparently anything goes. If you can try to avoid being distracted by the gorgeousness all around you, you will take the time to appreciate the food, which is well deserving of your time.
As there is an undeniable party vibe in the air at STK Chicago, you might start with some seafood for the table. You can choose from oysters, shrimp, king crab, mussels, ceviche and clams. If you came with just a date, consider sharing with the folks sitting next to you: the closeness of the tables here is designed to facilitate fraternization, and everybody comes to have a good time.
Steak options on the menu are arranged into three categories: small (6-10 ounce filet, skirt steak or strip loin), medium (10-16 ounce filet, sirloin, bone-in filet and dry aged Delmonico) and large (18-28 ounce bone-in dry aged strip, bone in rib steak, dry aged Porterhouse and dry aged tomahawk).
If you’re not a red meat fan, what are you doing here? Just kidding. There are non-beef options like fried Amish chicken, herb-crusted rack of lamb, Alaskan black cod and grilled lobster Rockafeller (no idea why it’s spelled that way, but as with oysters Rockefeller, there’s spinach involved).
There are the usual sides of Brussels sprouts, asparagus and mac n’ cheese for the traditionalists, but there are also some curve balls for the younger set, including tater tots, foraged mushrooms and jalapeno cheddar grits.
Steak, though, is why most of us go to STK Chicago (that, and the party).
Anthony Todd in Chicagoist had nothing but good things to say about his strip steak and the service that accompanied it:
“The central question of any steakhouse is: Can they make a steak? The answer at STK is yes, in spades. The steak was absolutely, 100 perfect—and moreover, they paid attention to detail. I ordered a rare skirt steak, and a manager-type with an earpiece came out to make sure I actually wanted that, since rare skirt steak can sometimes end up chewy. This is just the kind of service you want when you're ordering pieces of meat that can range up to $70. Pair it with a side of crisp broccolini (to make you feel better about downing 40 ounces of meat) and you've got a heck of an evening. Verdict: Super sexy, if a bit fattening.”
At a place like STK Chicago, we’re going to assume you’ll be having a pop or two. We especially liked the “juice boxes,” which feature juices of fruits and…kale (don’t run away; it was actually pretty good). Along with these house signature cocktails and all the classics, there are focused wine and beer lists. This is probably not the place to blow a paycheck on a contemplative Bordeaux (even if they had one on the menu, which they don’t). This is a place to drink a little, eat your fill of good steak, and then dance all those calories away to the DJ’s tune.