The James Chicago
616 N. Rush St.
Chicago Illinois 60611United States
Here's an inspired and spirited interpretation of the classic American steakhouse.
David Burke's Primehouse in The James Chicago does the city's meatpacking history proud. All steaks at this upscale steakhouse ($28$69) get dry-aged in the on-site Himalayan salt-tiled aging room, and they truly are fantastic. The restaurant's handpicked Angus cuts come from a single ranch in Kentucky. Choose among macho 20-ounce sirloins, ribeyes, and lighter flank and skirt steaks. Most of the menu is naturally dedicated to steaks, but the excellent seafood offerings are impressive, and poultry makes a couple of appearances, too. Start your meal off right with surf and turf dumplings, filled with short rib barbecue and lobster mousse, a decadent twist a classic dish ($10). Other appetizers include shrimp, oysters and clams ($11$14). But what we found to be really fun at this River North steakhouse is the touch of creative humor and theater built into the dining experience. For example, the votive candle on your table (made of bacon fat, herbs and red wine vinegar jelly) is actually a warm dressing to pour on your spinach salad. A Caesar salad is created like a work of art. And you have to try fun fill-your-own Kickin' Donuts for dessert ($9). These made-to-order doughnut holes are delivered piping hot in a basket, with three squeeze bottles on the side that are filled with addictive caramel, creamy vanilla and peach-ginger filling. The instructions are unspoken and clear: Sink the head into the doughnut hole and fill to your sweet tooth's content. The taste is a throwback to a fair's best funnel cakes. Delicious, and so much fun.