How can you go to a Chicago and not eat steak?
The answer was obvious to us: you don't!
As mentioned in the previous post, we research all dining options before a vacation. Our search for steakhouses turned out to be a tough one. We have a pretty strict criteria with steak houses and also we are tough critics coming from New York, where steakhouses are around just about every corner.
There was no clear consensus on the Internet. So we had to go with what seemed to have the most characteristics of the the kind of place we like best: old school, big cocktails, not much on the menu but steak, the place where captains of industry have a regular table and have three martini lunches with cigars.
Gibson's was the front runner in these categories.
Our waiter made me a little angry at the start of the meal. First, when I said I was deciding what to get to drink - he said, "I'll get you a cosmo - you'll like that."
Yes, I am a girl. Yes, I did get gussied up. But still, I don't like when people assume I like girlie things - or order for me. It is a bit of the feminist in me.
I smiled nicely and said, actually I will have an Old Fashioned with Maker's Mark. I wanted to say, bring me a double whisky neat - just to really throw him off. But I wanted to remember the meal, plus I don't really like whisky without ice and some cherries, but that is besides the point. So here was my Old Fashioned which was delicious.
The menu was real steakhouse fare. The requisite cuts of meat, the one fish dish, the creamed spinach, you get the point. The waiters also bring over a platter of steaks and a lobster tail (enormous) to give you an idea of the different cuts.
This bothered me a little. I guess because it seemed unnecessary and a little gimmicky. But whatever.
So the next thing our waiter did that made me angry was not even ask me what I wanted but say, "I know you are having the filet mignon" and then go to the husband for his order. Grrrr.
Now, there is nothing wrong with a filet, but it isn't my go to choice in a steak house. At a french restaurant with a red wine cream sauce, yes. But not at a place where the beef is on its own. I hated that he assumed I wanted the filet and even more, I hate the way he ordered it for me. Poor Elvis (that was his name) he didn't mean any harm - I spared him this rant. Instead, I smiled and I politely said I would rather have the bone in rib eye, medium rare.
The steaks came with a salad which was drowning in blue cheese. This was fine, but I didn't want to eat too much and ruin my appetite. Oh and the bread in the background was great. Wine was also very good, not spectacular, but very good. Elvis recommended something very reasonable (can't remember what it was, sorry). It was definitely a cabernet, but that is all I can recall.
We also ordered creamed spinach which was as good as any I've had. And we got a potato that looked like it ate another potato. It was huge and restuffed. Not something I would typically order, but it came highly recommended and it didn't disappoint.
The steak itself was perfectly cooked and immensely flavorful. The best part was the char on the outside of the steak. I didn't need to add any salt or pepper, which is rare for me at a SH. Even if everything else had been terrible, the steak alone was good enough to deem this meal a success. I apologize for the carcass picture, but you love it, don't you?
Here is the dessert menu. We laughed at the thought of it - and then covered our eyes in horror when we saw what people were receiving when they ordered a "piece" of carrot cake. It was about 1/2 of a total cake, I am not exaggerating. Fun at first I am sure, and then a little ridiculous.
Elvis won me over by the end and he and I were fast friends. The place had real charm, everybody was well fed and taken care of, and I would definitely recommend Gibson's if you are looking for a good old-fashioned steak house. It was worth every "overpriced in a steakhouse kind of way" penny.
That said, it didn't come close to Lugers....but I'm not sure anything will.
P.S. We also ordered a crab salad with avocado. Fine, but totally forgettable.