With the James Beard Foundation Awards set to take place in Chicago May 1, preceded by Eats Week, there’s no better time to eat your way around town at a number of restaurants paying homage to James Beard himself. Chicago being a city renowned for its world-class steakhouses, both old and new, there’s perhaps no better way to celebrate Eats Week than with a visit to one of these beefy bastions. Between the timeworn classics and the contemporary newcomers, few places personify Chicago’s dynamic food scene quite like the steakhouse, and several are participating in Eats Week with special dishes and menus.
The Capital Grille is rolling out the red carpet for the occasion with a full-fledge six-course tasting menu consisting of dishes like razor clams, fluke crudo, smoked trout and charred endive salad, rabbit stew, beef tongue and crumpets.
When it comes to celebrating a food icon like James Beard, it makes perfect sense to do so at a Chicago restaurant icon like Gibson’s Bar & Steakhouse. The Gold Coast bastion is featuring a filet Oscar for Eats Week, a 10-oz. filet with king crab, asparagus and hollandaise.
Beef isn’t the only meat getting the steakhouse spotlight during Eats Week. At RPM Steak (pictured above), rich and buttery slices of meltingly tender country ham come with artisan bread and maple butter. When compiled all together, it’s the perfect bite of sweet, salty and savory.
It’s entirely possible to keep things light and wholesome during Eats Week, without sacrificing flavor or quality. For instance, Prime & Provisions is upping the ante on salad with a special crab and quinoa creation outfitted with charred artichoke hearts, hearts of palm, bell peppers and apple cider vinaigrette.
Rosebud Steakhouse is another place shinning the spotlight on seafood, exhibiting dexterity across a wide array of ingredients. Case in point: for Eats Week, the Loop steakhouse is offering olive oil-poached Maine lobster served chilled with seasonal melon, basil and vanilla vinaigrette.
Classic comfort food gets an upgrade at STK Chicago, a steakhouse with a proven track record for meaty modernity. Their dish of choice is fried chicken with whole-grain mustard jus, English peas and cipolline onions.
A lavish four-course spread is on deck at Kinzie Chophouse if you’re looking for another tasting menu option. This one starts with cream of artichoke soup before moving on to dishes like crispy goat cheese Napoleon, pan-seared Lake Michigan perch with almond-fennel slaw, pan-fried lamb risotto and lemon custard pie with cream and strawberries. Guests get to choose their dish for each course, and wine pairings are optional as well.
For dessert, Benny’s Chop House borrows an eclair recipe from James Beard, serving the pastry with vanilla bean custard and caramel sea salt ice cream.
For more information on Eats Week and all 140+ participants, visit choosechicago.com/jbf. Or check out this video for a chef's perspective!
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the individual authors and commenters and do not reflect the views of Choose Chicago.
A New Hampshire native, Matt Kirouac moved to Chicago in 2006 to attend culinary school. Once he realized he enjoyed writing about food more than cooking it, he applied his education in another direction, and he's been reporting on Chicago's food beat ever since. You can keep up with where he's eating on Twitter @Mattsland.