Last week Chicago hosted the NRA Trade Show… no not the gun guys. This NRA is the National Restaurant Association and I guarantee this show blows away anything the other NRA can come up with, no pun intended. On top of discovering a bunch of new products, services and companies in the market, I was able to once again experience all that Chicago has to offer an everyday foodie and wine geek like myself, and man is it a lot!!
Chicago is one of those All American cities filled with lots of history, beautiful architecture, warm and hospitable people and fantastic culinary venues. They have everything from your local burger joint (like the Weber Grill), to a wine a based restaurant offering various flights of wine and cheese (Bin 36) to some of the best Steakhouses in the world (Chicago Chop House and Gibson’s to name a couple). This trip we hit up a few gems hidden in the Windy City.
Fans of Spark’s Steakhouse in NYC are not going to want to miss Gene and Georgetti’s Steakhouse in Chitown. While there is an Italian fare option available here, it is a good old fashioned Steakhouse loaded with perfectly cooked cuts of beef, delicious sides and a very reasonably priced wine list filled with all the Napa Cabs you would hope to see. It also has that same Goodfellas vibe that adds just a hint of danger with your meal… so if someone asks you to take a walk outside don’t be so quick to get up.
The Brazilian Steakhouse chain Fogo de Chao delivers a wonderful dining experience on all levels. It all starts with high quality beef and poultry sliced and served right at your table, and plenty of it. Add a kick ass salad bar, huge wine list and a restaurant enclosed by a custom wine cellar and you come up with a winning culinary combination.
If steak is not your thing, make Shaw’s Crab House the first stop on your list. Here you’ll find some of the best and freshest fish in the city. Try starting out with the cold seafood/shellfish appetizer paired with the Feudo di San Gregorio Falanghina…killer combo!
One of the most fun and energetic places in town is right around the corner from the historic John Hancock building, Bistro 110. It’s got that French Bistro look, feel and menu but with all the energy of Chicago. The Short Rib entry makes a great table appetizer to kick things off, and the Shrimp and Scallops over polenta in their green peppercorn sauce may be the winning dish of the trip. Lots of local and international selections on the well priced wine list, especially from the Rhone area of France.
While these are a few of my favorites, there are so many fantastic restaurants in Chicago that it’s hard to go wrong. As a New Yorker, Chicago is really a city worth visiting as it has so much to offer people of all ages. Just tons of energy and style, but with the warmth and charm that NYC can sometimes lack. I’m already looking forward to going back!