How Chicago Steakhouses Are Breaking From Tradition

Downtown Chicago has always been known for its traditional steakhouses, but the Windy City is riding a new wave.

The once formulaic process to opening and operating a steakhouse has given way to a wider geographic footprint and a different dining experience.

The dining experience is less classic and more international, with a sharing of plates inspired by the food of other countries amidst trendy music and a light and airy décor.

Outside of downtown, steakhouses are popping up from West Loop and Humboldt Park to Portage Park and River North.

The new brand of steakhouse is being driven by a number of factors, but Maple & Ash Director of Wine and Service Belinda Chang may have summed it up best, telling Thrillist, “[The steakhouse] is a classic form -- an archetype for Chicago. Classic forms are constantly ripe for refinement and evolution.”

Some of the steakhouses breaking the mold: Boeufhaus where French meets German; Argentinean steakhouse Rural Society; the Euro-inspired Bavette's Bar & Boeuf; and Roka Akor (think Robata Japanese cuisine).

How are customers feeling about the break from tradition? Pretty good.

“I think people have been very welcoming to the idea of redoing the steakhouse experience,” RPM Steak Executive Chef Doug Psaltis told Thrillist. “People don’t necessarily want to dine at a place where all the vegetables, salads, and desserts are an afterthought…Steakhouses needed a refresh.” Read more

Top Trends Amongst Las Vegas Steakhouses

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Driven by customer demands and spurred on by a number of local chefs, the most classic of Las Vegas steakhouses are now starting to showcase a number of new restaurant trends surrounding meat sourcing and preparation. 

Chefs such as Tom Colicchio of Heritage Steak have begun advocating for open wood flame grilling instead of gas grilling, arguing that a wood burning grill can add unique flavors to the meat that are lost in gas grills.  Michelin three-star chef Jean-George Vongerichten of Jean Georges Steakhouse has meanwhile been leading the movement towards a more natural meat source and his restaurant features a menu of artisanal, small-farm sourced grass-fed and free-range beef. 

And finally, Chef Brian Massie of The Light Group has started tenderizing some of the less glamourous butcher cuts, working with flat irons, hanger steaks and nontraditional sirloins, but preparing them in ultra-modern ways to ensure tenderness and flavor.  Alongside these unconventional cuts, Massie and a number of other chefs are moving towards more on-the-bone options as they have discovered that leaving the bone in results in more tender meat.

To learn more about some of Vegas’ top steakhouse trends, read more here