The steakhouse chain joins the River North crowd with a solid effort
In a city with so many steakhouses, something needs to set a steakhouse apart. For River North’s STK, the website clearly courts a female audience, and press releases promise a “vibe-driven dining experience” (whatever that means). In reality, though, it feels like it's focusing too much on cultivating the “vibe,” rather than embracing the fact that the food, particularly the steak, is quite solid.
A DJ spins later in the evening and drinks bear names like Not Your Daddy’s Manhattan, a Manhattan nicely deepened with port, but the Chicago outpost of the steakhouse chain is the only one that doesn’t list a dress code on its website, a clue that perhaps STK knows that Chicago isn’t quite on board with a super clubby restaurant.
But Chicago diners are on board with a good steak, which you’ll find here in the 20-ounce bone-in rib steak, perfectly cooked with delicate fat rippling through it. The filet, served Oscar-style, came with sweet crab and béarnaise sauce (though you’ll need to overlook the out-of-season asparagus). Sides, including spicy and crisp broccolini, help round out the meal. For starters, little gem greens come piled with shaved veggies and green goddess dressing, and thin slices of tuna crudo draped over julienned apple sit atop a piquant mustard vinaigrette. Dessert is a high point—a trio of tiny ice cream cones is adorable, but the champagne room, white chocolate champagne mousse and strawberry sauce encapsulated in a chocolate sphere, is the way to go. A server poured warm chocolate sauce over the dessert at the table, melting it into a remarkably balanced dessert. It’s a nice ending from this solid new effort.
Atmosphere: STK’s website emphasizes that they’re not a “stuffy” steakhouse, but it doesn’t seem much different than other new steakhouses, like RPM Steak. Most tables on my visit were groups (we saw at least two birthday parties), though my date and I weren’t the only two-top. A DJ spins later in the evening, and while the volume rose over my dinner on Saturday night, it was never overwhelming.
What to eat: Bone-in rib steak, broccolini, champagne room.
What to drink: The cocktail list features some well-made drinks, like Smokeshow, basically a mezcal and tequila negroni. On the wine front, our server capably directed me to a Sonoma chardonnay to stand up to my filet, though he didn’t offer much information about the wines.
Where to sit: For drinks or lighter bites, head to the bar. In the dining room, the curved booths are a comfortable spot to settle in for a big meal.
|Venue name:||STK Chicago||Contact:|
9 W Kinzie St
|Opening hours:||Mon–Sun 4–5pm (bar and raw bar), Sun–Wed 5–11pm, Thu–Sat 5pm–12am|
|Transport:||El stop: Red to Grand. Bus: 29, 36, 62.|
|Do you own this business?|
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I was apprehensive on ever trying STK but I'm glad I did. I was pleasantly surprised. With Chicago already having great steak options, STK is just another one to add to the list. You must try these items: shaved brussels sprout salad, jumbo lump crab salad, beef tartare, tuna tartare, cauliflower gratin, parmesan truffle fries (different style and cut than you are normally used to), jalapeno cheddar grits (nailed it) and wild mushrooms. They have a steak cuts for all types and vary on sizes. Go on a Wednesday and the wines bottles are 1/2 off.