Sunday May 13 we tried the Chop House. I was really looking forward to this one on my Chicago visit. I poured through all of the posts on the various steak houses and settled on this one as most likely to be what I was looking for. This choice was a disapointment.
The Sunday crowd is moderate, and we got a table on the third floor at the very back, near the bar service area. The chop house doesn't really have good or bad tables on the third floor, and being near the back bar was sort of entertaining.
The third floor is not exactly a clubby atmosphere, that appears reseved for the ground floor bar. The third floor is really not much atmosphere at all.
We started off with a friec calamari appetizer. It was average at best, despite the waiters comment that assured excellence, served with cocktail sauce. (I knew I should have ordered the shrimp cocktail) The salads with blue cheese were pretty good.
The waiter assisted us well in choosing a wine, and then it turned out to be sold out, so went with a Rosenblum, Annette's Valley Zinfandel; and that was very good as expected. But I would have liked something a little more substantial.
I ordered a 16 oz NY strip and my wife (not a meat eater, she was appeasing me for this evening) ordered that Lake Superior Whitefish. She got the mashed potato and I ordered the baked, we also ordered a side of creamed spinach.
The steak was amazingly tender for a strip, as tender as some filets. And cooked a perfect Medium Rare, as ordered. But the steak did not have any great flavor to it, like I would typically expect from a NY strip, and sadly the steak was the star of the evening. The whitefish was simply prepared with some paprika sprinkled over the top and broiled. I guess it is a good alternative for a non meat eater at a steak house, but no real effort is expended on this creation.
The big failure at tthe Chop House is the sides. The mashed potatoes are scooped with an ice cream scoop into a little bowl with some brown gravy poured over the top. Picture what you would see on a tray while laying in a hospital bed, and that's your mashed potato at the chop house. The creamed spinach is served exactly the same way, although it has some decent flavor. They could at least try to overwhelm you with a gargantuan portion.
For dessert we shared a carrot cake slice, and it was quite good but a little skimpy on the icing.
All in all, I tried to create a classic steakhouse experience, and came up short. I give the chop house a B-, and that is only because of the very tender and perfectly cooked piece of meat. Service is good as well.
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