Next, Chicago Steak

There are a number of reviews  of Next’s most recent Chicago steak menu.  Most think it’s less exciting than previous menus (they change 3 times a year) and some complain that it’s more expensive, especially because they don’t think it’s the best steak  in Chicago  (http://chicago.seriouseats.com/2014/01/first-impressions-of-nexts-chicago-steakhouse.html). The meal starts with various takes on steak house classics.  Some were excellent and beautiful like this broccoli and bread salad with oysters:

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Others weren’t as tasty, but they were still pretty.  Like this shrimp cocktail, which was just a bit mealy:

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Now for the meat. I can’t speak to whether or not it obliterates every other steak in town (sadly I’d need to do more in depth research than either my wallet or waistline can handle).  But I can tell you this was an excellent steak! I mean really excellent.  The 30 day age added some real complexity without overwhelming the underlying meaty flavor. In the end I did end up sort of agreeing with the review posted above that I wouldn’t have minded just that steak and a glass of wine. But that’s only because by the time we got to the steak I was too full to eat as much of it as I would have liked. I mean look at this meat!

photo 4I think what they were trying to do here was modernize a really old school steak house experience. They succeeded. I mean my dessert was even on fire:

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And I can raise a glass to that!

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The Publican, Chicago

The Publican might be one of the best places I’ve eaten at recently. The Bob and self popped in for brunch before an afternoon at the Art Institute and it was really a great way to start the day. There are so many reasons to love this place. Of course the great letter they wrote to PETA: http://chicagoist.com/2014/01/13/publican_quality_meats_dishes_up_cl.php.

The charming decor:

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The best french fries I’ve had since I was a kid. I have to wax poetic for a second here. There used to be a Belgian frites place on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica. When I was a kid I’m pretty sure it was my favorite restaurant in the whole world. They made perfect fries (crunchy outside and fluffy inside) and only fries and served them with garlic mayonnaise. They closed like two decades ago and I’ve never had a fry as good since. Until the Publican. They even came with garlic mayo!

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I had an Asian style pork with fried egg and dashi. The broth was so good I had to ask for more rice to make sure I soaked it all up.

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The Bob opted for a fluffy pancake with bacon wrapped chicken and sausage baked into it. Also delicious. I hope we get back to Chicago soon because I’m dying to have dinner here. Oh, and another reason to love them? They have adopted the trend (which I love) of telling you where they source their meat (for every single dish) on their ever changing menu.

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REWARD

The Bob and I got hitched a few weeks ago.  The wedding was great.  The honeymoon was incredible (keep an eye out for posts about Dinner by Heston Blumenthal and some cool Africa locations as well).  But like any wedding, of course, there were some rushed/stressful moments. Mainly these were while I was getting ready.  So when the hotel staff delivered a box containing this awesome Carmen Miranda esq chicken it made my day!

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It even lead one of the girls to comment that in the future she’s sending a chicken to the bridal suite at every wedding she attends.  Sadly though, the card that came with this fabulous chicken was unsigned. So I’m putting it out there — for anybody with information leading to the discovery of the chicken gifter I will make a (hopefully) delightful fall chicken dinner for you and a date. No lead is too small folks!