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Stepping through the revolving doors of the North Loop's Prime & Provisions feels like time-traveling to the glamour of a bygone era. Celebrating its one-year anniversary, this relative newcomer to the Chicago steakhouse scene is ready to become a local institution.
Facing the Chicago River at the corner of LaSalle and Wacker, Prime & Provisions is in the Builders Building, whose 1927 architecture lends itself beautifully to the classic, supper-club feel inside the restaurant. However, it's the high-quality, attentive service and menu execution that really seal the deal.
Owners David Rekhson and Lucas Stoioff are partners in DineAmic Group, the team that created Chicago's Siena Tavern, Bar Siena, Public House, Bull & Bear, and West Loop’s dessert walk-up window, BomboBar. For their first steakhouse venture, Rekhson and Stoioff envisioned stepping back to a more elegant time.
"Designing the entire concept was an exercise in going back to basics, and stripping away some of the overcomplicated concepts that have emerged in the steakhouse realm," Stoioff explains. "We decided, why don't we become more of a purist, and go back to making it simpler, like an early 1900s-era inspired concept."
Rekhson concurs, noting that the use of rich materials — such as Carrara marble, wrought iron, leather and woods — as well as opulent details like the two-story wine tower at the center of the bar, are meant to give each guest that "grand dining experience you would get 70 to 80 or so years ago."
The purist mentality extends into every aspect of the restaurant, which includes, of course, the menu. "Really the focus is on the quality of the service. The menu is simple," says Rekhson. "We're making simple dishes with high-quality, flavorful ingredients."
Those ingredients include high-quality produce, sustainable seafood and 100% All Natural U.S.D.A. Prime Black Angus Beef — a distinction that means the animals are humanely raised without hormones or antibiotics, which is a cut above the prime standard used by most premium steakhouses.
It's a higher standard that pays off with a better product — like the center-cut porterhouse, which is dry aged for 40 days, and, as Rekhson points out, "is consistently tender."
Along with steak and seafood mains, other don't-miss specialties, among many, include a creamy clam chowder with tender bits of clam, thick-cut maple bacon drizzled with dark chocolate, a lump blue crab and lobster cake appetizer, and for dessert, a perfectly executed banana cream pie.
Just as much care and attention went into designing Prime & Provisions cocktail offerings. DineAmic Group corporate mixologist Adolfo Calderon consulted classic recipes and incorporated authentic details down to the type of ice used to chill each cocktail — a single crystal-clear cube that looks like it was just chipped off the iceman's latest delivery, Stoioff says.
"Our Old Fashioned is everything that they would have had back in time, just that way," he adds.
Prime & Provisions also has a stellar wine list, curated by head sommelier Adam Sweders and served by a knowledgeable staff that will help you find the perfect complement to your meal.
Cigar aficionados will tell you that nothing rounds out a perfect steak dinner like the earthy, spicy flavors of a premium cigar.
If you are so inclined, complete your dining experience on Prime & Provisions' smoking patio. Offerings include cigars from Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic and more. Rekhson's personal favorite is the Liga Privada, a Nicaraguan cigar with "a lot of complex, bold flavors," which he says is a great follow up to a perfectly aged steak and a classic cocktail.
Open since May 2, 2015, Prime & Provisions already has attracted quite a few fans, some of whom you might even recognize. Stoioff and Rekhson say that celebrity sightings have become a bit commonplace, with professional athletes as well as film and television stars stopping in to enjoy the food and atmosphere.
While a celebrity sighting isn't guaranteed, you'll feel like one after enjoying the excellent service, sumptuous surroundings and exquisite menu at Prime & Provisions, a welcome throwback to when dining out was an experience to be savored and repeated.
Prime & Provisions
222 N. LaSalle St.
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