Gene & Georgetti
500 N. Franklin Street, Chicago, IL 60654
The traditional American steakhouse long ago went generic. My recollection is that when New York's original Palm started turning up in major cities around the country, the day of the local was gone. So I was pleasantly surprised to be introduced to a Chicago institution that is still a tried and true local stalwart. Gene and Georgetti occupies a mostly desolate corner underneath the El in River North. Its gaudy orange and yellow neon sign rings of the 1940s. It feels like it might be a speakeasy and when you walk in the door on a Friday night, there is little to dispel that rumor. The bar is packed. Every table is filled. Waiters in white jackets are tending to clients who it appears they have known since Daley was mayor. The shrimp in the shrimp cocktail are as big and fresh as a lobster and the fried raviolis come with a choice of marinara or meat sauce. This, however, is a paean about meat. A hunk of the perfectly cooked prime rib easily serves two. Your waiter slices it at the table. Upon request he spoons au jus across the glistening cut. You carve a small piece with a steak knife that harkens back to the days of heft, and you feel the juices running in your mouth as you bite in. Chicago has always been about beef. You inadvertently close your eyes. You get it. It's going to be a good evening.