I recently moved to town and have been keeping an eye on the steak debates on the board. When I was previously living in the Chicago area (Evanston) I frequented Morton's and have never been to Gibson's, the Chop House, or Gene and Georgetti, so I decided to tackle the one that has peaked my interest for many years now with its mixed reviews and "power" atmosphere. A note: I love steak and my favorite dinner could be a Strip (or occasionally a rib eye or porterhouse) medium rare with a nice salty char, shrimp cocktail, creamed spinach, and a scotch or martini, and have no problems visiting steakhouses once a week to get my fill. Anyway- hoping to find a place I would be delighted to frequent somewhat often I called and secured a last minute reservation at Gibson's.
When I called they stressed the importance of arriving on time since they would only hold the table for 15 minutes. Lo and behold, as is par for the course I have read, we walked into a 20 minute wait at the bar where the bar-back was much more helpful than the bartender.
I don't know if this is the case in restaurants in this area, but I felt pandered to as if I wasn't that important all night. Be it the cold shoulder from the bartender who stood there talking to his buddy while I waited to order drinks, to the long-winded schpeil by the server (as if I were at a Fridays,) to the grotesque patronizing smile by the server when we asked to have some food wrapped up, to being seated in the narrow back room (seemingly Siberia)- the overall tone was not overly hospitable and made me feel like a tourist.
On to the food- starters of shrimp cocktail and spicy lobster cocktail were right on the ball. Good portion sizes, proper snap to the shrimp and consistency of the Lobster. House salads were a nice treat since back home absolutely nothing comes free at a steak house.
Large 19oz strip was cooked perfectly and had a decent char. Needed some salt but overall was a very good steak. Other entrees at the table included the pork chop- which was tasty but perhaps a bit over-seasoned, and the salmon that was well received- a nice surprise. Sides were cream spinach- which I found to be overly creamy to a fault, and mushrooms which were too vinegary and disappointing. Maybe they can be salvaged in an omelet.
All in all, the food was very good with the exception of the sides, and I hope to return but will certainly make visits to the Chop House and G&G (as well as Morton's) in order to find a steakhouse more to my liking. I ate at N9ne in Vegas and was pleasantly surprised, and I have never had a good steak at David Burke & Donatella in NYC. Perhaps these were anomalies?
Thanks for reading,