There are many steakhouses in Chicago: Ruth’s Chris, Chicago Chophouse, Smith & Woolinski… You get the idea. However, when we asked the concierge where we could get a great steak, he immediately suggested Harry Caray’s. Of course, my sister Julie and I took his advice and headed off to find a cab.
Harry Caray’s, located on the corner of Dearborn and Kinzie, is a hop, skip and a jump away from W Chicago – City Center. Of course, Julie and I didn’t know this. We hopped a cab, paid the $6 fare and headed into the restaurant. We didn’t need reservations, but we called ahead anyway to find out if we did. After all, it was a Thursday night.
Upon entering the restaurant, we were greeted by a pleasant maitre-d. To the right is the rowdy sports bar, filled with smoke and loud sports fans. (I must remind you that my sister and I visited this restaurant during the NCAA Championship Playoffs.) There were three, large TVs mounted high upon the wall with the NCAA games playing on them. I was worried that our table would be in or near the sports bar.
Fortunately, I was wrong. The maitre-d led us down a hallway on the left, into a large dining area. Sports (especially baseball, of course) and entertainment memoribilia adorns the walls. Instantly, I wished that my best friend Dionne and I had known about Harry Caray’s when we visited Chicago a few years back. It is definitely a restaurant for a baseball fan to dine.
All of the servers are dressed in long, white butcher aprons/coats. Obviously, this is not a restaurant for vegetarians. The dining room is brightly lighted, not creating any sort of ambiance. Truth be told, this would be an excellent setting for a business dinner. It’s more geared towards men — especially sports fans. (Sorry, ladies. I don’t intend to be sexist.) It seems as though the little details, such as mood lighting and table settings, are overlooked so that Harry Caray’s can concentrate on the food.
And what food it is! To quote the late, great Harry Caray, “HOLY COW!” Julie and I started with the Tuscan Salad. Our server informed us that it was large enough to share, so we took his advice. Julie and I both ordered the 9oz. filet mignon, which was accompanied by the pasta of the day. We figured we would order dessert later (if we had room for it), so we opted not to go for any sides.
While waiting for our meal, a loaf of fresh, warm bread and sweet cream butter was brought to our table. The bread was positively awesome. The butter is clearly made fresh at the restaurant. While reveling in the bread and butter, our salad was brought to the table.
I suppose a lot of people share the Tuscan Salad. It was brought to us already split on two plates, so Julie and I didn’t have to bother divying it between us. The lettuce was crisp, tomatoes fresh, and all of the other vegetables in the fantastic Italian dressing made my tastebuds do a happy little dance. Yum.
The plates were cleared away as soon as we were through with our salads. The water glasses were refilled and another loaf of warm bread was brought to the table. Needless to say, this was a bad day to start my diet.
About ten minutes later, our piping-hot steaks were brought to the table with a large bowl of pasta. We were a little surprised that the steaks were served on plated with just a little parsley and nothing else. I served the pasta with freshly grated parmesan cheese to me and my sister.
Julie ordered her filet mignon medium while I, on the other hand, ordered mine medium. Both of our steaks were cooked to perfection. The outside of the steak was rubbed with salt and some other seasonings, which only enhanced the flavor of the steak. Both were very tender, which is exactly how filet mignon should be cooked.
The pasta was terrific, too. It was a medley of small pastas (bowties, shells and caps) in a light marinara sauce. The pasta accompanied the steak very well. There was so much pasta that, between the two of us, we weren’t able to finish.
Our friendly server cleared our dishes away as soon as we were through. The service is very prompt at Harry Caray’s, and our server was very friendly. Even though he was prompt, at no time did my sister and I feel rushed. We decided that we did indeed have enough room for dessert– though Lord only knows how — and requested the dessert menu.
There were at least 10 different desserts on the menu. After a long debate, Julie decided on the Chocolate Torte and I chose a slice of Eli’s Turtle Cheesecake. Julie ordered a regular coffee while I opted for decaf.
Our coffee was brought to us immediately. I always get nervous that I’m going to get the regular coffee whenever I order decaf and someone else orders regular, but this wasn’t the case at Harry Caray’s. The coffee was awesome– full bodied and rich. I had to have a second cup with my cheesecake.
When our desserts arrived, our eyes popped out of our heads. They were HUGE! Honestly, Julie and I should have shared one instead of ordering two. My cheesecake was gooey and fabulous. Layers of caramel and pecans throughout the rich and creamy cheesecake made my tastebuds sing. AS for the chocolate torte, I didn’t like it as much. I thought the torte would be warm. Instead, it was cold and had vanilla ice cream on top. The crust was too flour-y for me, and just not sweet enough. It’s fortunate that Julie preferred her torte to my cheesecake.
All i all, our first dinner in Chi-town was fantastic. Including a generous tip, the check came to $110. Obviously, Harry Caray’s is a bit pricey. Regardless of cost, my sister and I had a wonderful time, and you can’t put a price on that.
Harry Caray’s is an excellent restaurant. I highly recommend it to anyone that visits Chicago. Heck, I recommend it to locals who are looking for a nice place to have dinner! You should go to Harry Caray’s at least once, especially if you’ve never been to Chicago before.
Kid Friendliness: No
Vegetarian Friendly: No
Notes, Tips or Menu Recommendations Tuscan Salad Filet Mignon Turtle Cheesecake
Best Suited For: Business