Chicago is deservedly known for its steakhouses, and it seems there is one on every downtown corner. Some, like Gibson’s or Maple & Ash, are places to “see and be seen.” But others are the places to go when you want a good, old-fashioned steak that you can enjoy without worrying if your evening’s fashion choices were correct.
The Kinzie Chophouse is a perfect example of the latter. As comfortable as a favorite sweater, yet retaining an old-school elegance and dignity, Kinzie’s puts the spotlight where it belongs – on the food. I recently visited with my wife and two friends and experienced a memorable meal.
Kinzie’s offers you a choice of eating in the bar area or in the dining room. Each has its own vibe, but both offer a relaxing atmosphere. We chose the bar and were quickly seated and greeted by our tuxedo-shirted waiter. He was to provide the perfect balance of attentiveness without putting on too much “show.” The waiter also offered an education on how to order a steak, giving me a whole new perspective on the spectrum of rare to well done, and the difference between “Pittsburgh rare” and blackened.
(For the record, a steak cooked “Pittsburgh rare” is heated to a very high temperature very quickly so it is charred on the outside, but still rare or raw on the inside.)
Given the word “chophouse” is right there in the restaurant’s name, I ordered the 12 oz. Berkshire Pork Chop, with a side of grilled onions. Anyone who knows me understands that I take my pork chops seriously. This was one of the best, easily making it into the top 2 or 3 on my list of favorites. (Perry’s in Austin, Texas retains the #1 spot.)
My dining companions went in other directions, one ordering the 10 oz. ribeye steak, the second went with the seared salmon filet, and the third choosing the bone-in short ribs, which were described as “very tender.” All were uncharacteristically quiet during dinner, so their meals must have been first rate.
I finished the evening with a Key Lime pie that was just the right size, with a balance of sweetness and tartness that left a nice, lingering taste.
Kinzie Chophouse may not be the place where Chicagoans bring their out-of-town guests to impress them. But it was pretty obvious it is a place where Windy City locals choose to enjoy their own dining experience. I highly recommend you eat like a local at Kinzie’s.
400 North Wells Street
Chicago, IL 60654