Having inquired of the kind and generous souls who frequent this board about a month ago and having received quite a number of responses, I ultimately decided to try the Chicago Chop House. My visitor/guest wanted steak. We arrived about five minutes before our reservation time and were taken up to the third floor immediately. Where we proceeded to wait a full half hour after our reserved time of 7:30 before being seated. The maitre d' was pleasant, no more. Very eventually, some people decided to leave and we were immediately seated. (Pet peeve: people who pay and then linger for thirty minutes or more. And a potentially intriguing topic for this board. Five minutes, who cares. Thirty minutes...c'mon already!)
We were offered free appetizers and decided, after some discussion, to have free dessert instead. Both of us ended up with the 10 oz. filet (at $23.95). The price includes a house salad (excellent) and baked or mashed potatos. We went for the baked potatoes and I opted for the creamed spinach (sides generally around $3.50). The meat was excellent and cooked to our specifications, though not particularly well-trimmed. The creamed spinach was mediocre. The baked potato...well, a baked potato is a baked potato.
A reasonable but not exceptional list of wines by the glass. I chose a California zin (at $10, the most expensive glass on the list) and my companion had a pinot grigio (at $6; due to an unfortunate--at least to my mind--biochemical inability to drink reds). I must confess to being startled when I ordered the zin to hear the waiter ask me "red or white?" A commentary, I guess, on the clientele. (Or perhaps on the waiter.) My wine was excellent and hers was surprisingly good. Chardonnay-like...substantial body and much more complex than a run-of-the-mill pinot grigio.
Dessert was completely unimaginative (on our parts: a hot fudge sundae and chocolate mousse cake--both fine.) Truth be told, the dessert menu wasn't all that exciting in any case. I was amused that they comped the desserts but charged me for the coffee ($1.75).
The maitre d' was, as noted, pleasant. After we were seated, we never saw him again. The waiter was very competent; no more. Neither particularly friendly nor obsequious. Nor did he treat us like "tourists"--a complaint I had noted in some of the responses to my initial query. The atmosphere was comfortable, not too noisy, although the tables are too close together and the room was very warm. (I am somewhat inclined to make allowances for the weather, but I would have expected a better job of air-conditioning, frankly.)
Bottom line: about a B+. I wouldn't object to returning, but I suspect that there are too many worthier establishments that I'll try next time.
Thanks again to all those who offered their suggestions.
your humble and obedient food-taster...
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