Swift & Sons - Chicago
The restaurant is named for one of the cattle barons of 19th century Chicago, Gustavus Franklin Swift, and the décor brings to life the imagined offices of his company, inside a warehouse that used to be cold storage for the kind of steaks they now serve.
The expansive restaurant has many seating areas, allowing for an intimate feel despite the size of the place. The dining room is warmed with leather banquettes and burnished gold accents, as well as massive concrete pillars that hail back to the space’s original use as a warehouse. Tables are well-spaced so that diners have room to breathe and immerse themselves in the meal. Trust us: you’ll want to give your full attention to what’s on your plate.
The menu at Swift & Sons plays with classic meat cuts, quality seafood, and innovative fare that you won’t find on your typical steakhouse menu. The appetizers set the scene with such rich and refined plates that you’ll need to remind yourself to leave room for the main course. Chopped steak tartare, with Dijon and shallots, and the foie gras terrine, accented with rhubarb and mint, are the starters of choice for the meat lover, decadent, luscious and full of flavor.
The seafood options offer a fresh beginning to your culinary journey. Oysters come in a variety of preparations, from the time-honored Rockefeller with béarnaise sauce and bacon to the Carpetbagger Oysters with beef tartare. Of course, you can also enjoy them on the half shell or as part of the cold platter, where they’re joined by leche de tigre scallops, king crab, mussels, and shrimp cocktail.
“Boutique beef” is what Swift & Sons calls their cuts of high-grade steak, and you’ll find some unusual and exciting items on their menu. The kitchen does due justice to traditional options like the 8 ounce filet mignon, 16 ounce New York strip, and 20 ounce bone-in ribeye. The 34 ounce porterhouse is dry-aged and beautifully marbled, a steakhouse classic with impeccable execution.
For the true connoisseurs, Swift & Sons features choice Wagyu beef: American and Australian Wagyu, as well as the crowning jewel, A5 Wagyu beef from Japan. This king of cuts is on the bucket list of any seri
ous steak fan. Another rare steak appears as part of the surf and turf combo; the rib cap is known as being one of the most flavorful cuts available. Mike Sula writes in “Chicago Reader” that it’s “a steak I could eat exclusively for the rest of my life.” It is paired with half of a wood grilled Lobster Thermidor, creating an indulgent dish that goes way beyond merely satisfying.
Another classic dish that Swift & Sons has made its own is the Beef Wellington. A 16 ounce tenderloin is wrapped in golden puff pastry enfolding foie gras, mushrooms, and spinach. The dish was deemed “superb” by “Chicago Tribune” critic Phil Vettel, who also declared “I’ve never had a better version of this dish.” The Beef Wellington is sliced tableside and amply serves two. Find a dining partner and give it a try.
While the steaks can easily stand alone, Swift & Sons has many options for sauces and accompaniments. Dress your filet or chop in anchovy-garlic butter or oxtail marmalade for an extra punch of flavor. Bone marrow adds something extra savory, and citrus-poached lobster brightens up the plate. Sides like the au gratin potatoes with country ham and creamed spinach are recommended to round out your meal.
The desserts at Swift & Sons “provide an alternative to traditional heavy steakhouse sweets,” notes Amy Cavanaugh of “Time Out Chicago.” Moist carrot cake is accompanied by bourbon pecan ice cream. The Meyer lemon tart will refresh your palate with crispy meringue and a tangerine sorbet. Not quite enough room left for a full dessert? Satisfy that sweet tooth with a selection from Swift & Sons’ chocolate trolley, a collection of cookies, candies, and pastries from which you can take as many as your heart desires… or your stomach can hold.
Swift & Sons strikes the perfect balance between tradition and innovation, honoring both steakhouse history and twenty-first century culinary creativity. From décor that modernizes its look, yet acknowledges the space’s story, to steaks that carry the highest of standards while offering interesting styles, this restaurant is a crowd-pleaser across all appetites.