The Gold Coast steakhouse marries irreverence with spot-on takes on classic dishes.
I didn’t expect to find myself in the middle of a clubby lounge in a steakhouse at midnight, but Maple & Ash inverts expectations. You enter the Gold Coast restaurant through a crowded bar, then take the elevator upstairs to a lively lounge before being whisked into the calm, elegant dining room. I also didn’t expect the chef's choice option to be called "I Don't Give a Fuck” or the “Baller” seafood tower, but I did expect classic steaks and sides from chef Danny Grant and exceptional wines from sommelier Belinda Chang.
The dichotomy places Maple & Ash in line with other new steakhouses, like RPM Steak, Swift & Sons, STK and Boeufhaus, which update classic dishes while offering a cooler ambience than old-school spots. The meal begins with a round of freebies—a mini gin cocktail, citrus-cured olives, nubs of Hook’s cheddar and radishes with butter—to snack on while you peruse the menu. Seafood is a good choice to start. Pile refreshing salmon tartare atop pieces of fried phyllo dough and order coal-roasted seafood, available in a tower or individual pieces. Fat, sweet crab legs are rich and spicy from garlic butter and chili oil, and the half lobster with the surf and turf has the same presentation. It’s perfect, though the accompanying filet is mushy rather than tender. The bone-in rib-eye is a better choice, with a juicy center, mineral flavor and charred edge. Nearly every table in the dining room ends with sundae service, a $19 tower of ice cream toppings—hot fudge, salted caramel, nuts, candy and fruit—that’s $4 for each extra bowl of ice cream. It’s whimsical and large enough to feed an entire table.
The food satisfies, though rushed, smothery service feels at odds with the cool vibe. Let’s all relax—the night is young.
Atmosphere: The dining room is gorgeous, with candlesticks on the tables, patterned fabrics and attention to detail, like the Maple & Ash logo in the window design. On Friday night, the downstairs bar and upstairs lounge were both packed with 30- to 50-somethings; despite the party, the dining room is fairly quiet.
What to eat: Roasted seafood, dry-aged rib-eye, sundae service.
What to drink: Bartender Cristiana DeLucca explores the history of the martini, from an 1848 recipe to her present-day takes on the drink. The list includes a vesper and a Martinez, though the modern expressions are wonderful—the herbal, cucumbery Savory is made with St. George Terroir gin, dry vermouth and cucumber bitters, while the gentle M&A Reverse brings dry vermouth to the forefront, then accents it with Bombay gin and Angostura orange bitters. It’s a great cocktail list (non-martini options are available as well), so it was disappointing when a server recommended I order a cocktail that doesn’t taste like booze, but directed my male date to something stronger.
The wine list is huge, but asking for help yields warm service and lots of smart choices. The sommelier brought over three wines to sample before we settled on a crisp muscadet to pair with seafood. All wines are available by the glass, thanks to the Coravin system, which opens the wine without removing the cork, so if you don’t spot something you want on the wine list, just ask.
Where to sit: With a downstairs bar, upstairs lounge and large dining room, Maple & Ash has options for each type of diner. For more casual options, pop by the bar; for a full sit-down dinner, the dining room; and just drinks (or dancing), the lounge.
|Venue name:||Maple & Ash|
8 W Maple St
|Cross street:||between State and Dearborn Sts|
|Opening hours:||Sun-Thu 11am-10pm, Fri & Sat 11am-11pm. Downstairs bar open later.|
|Transport:||El stop: Red to Clark/Division. Bus: 22, 36, 70.|
|Do you own this business?|
Average User Rating
3.4 / 5
- 5 star:1
- 4 star:2
- 3 star:1
- 2 star:0
- 1 star:1
Unfortunately, Maple and Ash does not live up to the other steakhouses in the city. It was very expensive and only mediocre food. The appetizers were definitely the best part. If I did go back, I would go for a happy hour and only get appetizers and drinks. While the desserts were beautiful, they were a little too over-the-top.
I have been to maple and ash twice and I will definitely be back! Their food is all so amazing and the service was very impressive. It is a place that I would go to for a nice occasion or when my parents are in town!
We were one of the very first to enjoy a brunch upstairs at Maple & Ash. Although I have been to this new trendy restaurant for cocktails I had yet to eat here so we decided to take Mom here for Mother’s Day and let me just start off by saying we were not disappointed. Once seated we were given a few snacks and a rum with pineapple and mint cocktail shaken then poured in small martini glasses at our table. We started with the French onion soup which was excellent perfect amount of cheese atop and very flavorful. For our main course my sister and I shared the 28 day aged bone in ribeye (medium) Mom had the same it was cooked to perfection we did add a little sea salt and pepper but otherwise the flavor was good just needed a little help. Side dishes were the asparagus which had a citrus and mint flavor which was wonderful not overwhelming at all and last but surely not least was the mac n cheese with bacon which was DELICOUS! Mom was satisfied but we could NOT stop there we had these chocolate bomme thing (I cannot recall the name) it was amazing from the presentation where they poured a caramel sauce over and it transformed to a totally different form right b4 your eyes! Great meal and our server was great! Very attentive and informative.