Admit it: Living in Chicago has made a steak snob of you. In an effort to hold your attention, we’ll get straight to the heart of the matter: Steak 48 (615 N. Wabash Ave., River North) opens next month. Here are five reasons you may want to consider spending your steakhouse allowance there.
1. The players are a pretty big deal.
Jeffrey and Mike Mastro, their father Dennis Mastro, and partner Scott Troilo are the guys behind steak-chain-to-the-stars Mastro’s Steakhouse and three Mastro's Ocean Club restaurants. This is the third location for Steak 48, and the company’s executive chef, Marc Lupino, has taken up temporary residence in Chicago to assist with the opening. There’s also some local talent involved: twenty-year steakhouse veteran Brian Key (Gibsons, Weber Grill) will serve as executive chef.
2. The space is not what you’re expecting.
Lupino calls the decor in the 12,000-square-foot, two-story restaurant “airy and unexpected,” and adds that it will look “more feminine in the sense of artwork and layout” than the steakhouses of yore. The space also includes an 800-square-foot patio and a bar, but the focal point will be the kitchen, which is encased in glass on three sides and allows diners full viewing of Key and crew.
3. The steaks arrive in showstopping fashion on a sizzling, 500-degree plate.
Meat will be either wet- or dry-aged—a first for the company. “We’re dry-aging for the very first time because Chicago loves a dry-aged steak,” says Lupino.
4. The seafood is no afterthought.
Lupino likens the giant seafood display—which will hold live crab, lobsters, and oysters—to those at Seattle's Pike Place Market. Fish, such as wild-caught salmon, will be flown in daily from such far-flung locales as Shetland Island in Scotland.
5. Desserts dare to get wacky—even by steakhouse standards.
Case in point: Freshly baked beignets served hanging from a 16-inch (non-edible) tree structure, with Nutella ganache and crème anglaise for dipping.