WHERE’S THE Prime Steak (Beef) IN CHICAGO?

The word "Prime" is a quality grade given by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to describe the highest quality beef and other meats (veal and lamb) in terms of tenderness, juiciness and flavor. Thus, “prime beef” is the favored term to describe the best beef for your steak.

This meat quality grade is given based on a combination of marbling and maturity. Marbling (or flecks of fat within the meat) adds flavor, and younger beef produces the most tender meat. Thus, “prime beef” comes from the youngest beef with the most abundant marbling,...

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WHERE’S THE Prime Steak (Beef) IN CHICAGO?

The word "Prime" is a quality grade given by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to describe the highest quality beef and other meats (veal and lamb) in terms of tenderness, juiciness and flavor. Thus, “prime beef” is the favored term to describe the best beef for your steak.

This meat quality grade is given based on a combination of marbling and maturity. Marbling (or flecks of fat within the meat) adds flavor, and younger beef produces the most tender meat. Thus, “prime beef” comes from the youngest beef with the most abundant marbling, visibly so.

As noted in a number of places on this website, less than two percent of all beef produced in the United States will earn the prime designation. It is unlikely that you can pick it up in your local grocery store (although on another page we have identified several places where you can); so, you will in all likelihood need to go to a high-end Chicago steak houses to experience the best beef, again the so-called “prime beef”.

Because of its superior quality, prime cuts of steak (beef) are best prepared using dry-heat cooking methods such as roasting and grilling, which the best Chicago steak houses are sure to use.

Lastly, cuts of prime beef are given an “imprimatur” or stamp of approval by the USDA, which is a highly visible purple stamp showing the words "USDA Prime" inside a shield symbol. This mark or imprimatur is visible on the beef itself. Look for it in the racks of dry aging that most, but not all, of our quality steakhouses leave open for your inspection. (Retail packaging, if you’re able to buy it, will feature the grade mark.)

It is criminally illegal to misrepresent “Prime Steak (Beef)”, if in fact, such is not the case, or to use misleading language to describe the quality of the beef being presented. For instance, a restaurant that serves “prime rib” must use beef that has been graded prime. Otherwise, they would have to call it a "rib roast" or something else that doesn't have the word "prime" in it.

Interesting, meat grading is entirely optional. Beef producers must request such grading, and pay the USDA for the service (whereas meat inspection, per se, is required by law, but is not concerned with the grade of the beef. The purpose of the USDA meat inspections, which are also paid by the beef producer, is to insure the wholesomeness, safety, packaging, and labeling of the beef.).

Chicago Best Steaks uses a number of measures to define the restaurant that offer the best steaks. First, the steak house must feature USDA Prime Steak (Beef) on its menu; the steak house must also offer world-class service; and, stock an extensive supply of wines and spirits, in keeping with the enjoyment and atmosphere that are part and parcel of a great steak house.

Each of the steakhouse included on this site and in our guide is highly regarded by local and national media outlets such as Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times DiRoNA, Wine Spectator and Zagat. So, you as a diner, will know that the quality of the meal and the ambiance of the restaurant will meet your strictest requirements and afford you a relaxing, enjoyable meal.

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