Price Point: $17 for the short rib sandwich
Why, yes, that is a stack of onion rings positioned atop of this hulking short rib sandwich. And, no, the kitchen at the Commons Club (203 N. Wabash Ave., Loop, 312-940-4747; virginhotels.com), the second-floor restaurant in the newly opened Virgin Hotel, didn’t forget something. Most restaurants would have capped this sandwich with a massive bun, forcing the diner to chomp through some three inches of bread. Instead, chef Rick Gresh makes the borderline genius move of turning this normally oversized monster into a slightly more manageable open-faced sandwich.
The English muffin bottom is here mostly for structural support, carrying the weight of the enormous helping of saucy shredded short ribs without turning to mush. Sans the excess bread, the crunchy onion rings really pop, adding an aromatic sweetness to each bite. But the beef still runs this show, and fortunately it is extremely tender and fatty. Salty cheddar blue cheese and sharp horseradish valiantly fight through the avalanche of meat.
As you can imagine, the only difficulty comes with eating the thing. Your hands will get dirty, which wouldn’t be such a problem if you weren’t at the rather posh Virgin Hotel. Take caution. Or, you could eat the sandwich with a knife and fork, like the totally respectable man dining next to me did. But what’s the fun in that?