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Old 07-09-2013, 08:35 PM
 
14,684 posts, read 16,486,618 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lookout Kid View Post
Well, we are definitely a little more thick-skinned here than say, the Bay Area or SoCal, and others are also expected to be thick-skinned. However, the person spending a lot of money on a meal that's not prepared properly in their eyes is also exhibiting a somewhat aggressive posture, and I think that's perfectly normal in Chicago as well. It just doesn't surprise me that Gibson's wasn't up to the task, being an old-school steakhouse that's not much in to innovation or new techniques. And very few steakhouses do seafood well, even though many offer it on their menus.

I think the term "patriarchal" is thrown around far too often by left-wingers who aren't comfortable with men and masculinity. To me, it's the same as distaste for the "bourgeoisie" or "middle America", or whatever other part of the establishment they want to bring down. I don't see any merit in that type of criticism.
Quote:
Originally Posted by chet everett View Post
It's meat. Deal with it.
What happens if a left winger like me likes meat?
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Old 07-09-2013, 09:12 PM
 
Location: Chicago - Logan Square
3,396 posts, read 6,905,826 times
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Ultimately the old school steak houses are doomed - it's just an out of date business model. I agree that a big part of their prices are just to let people show off to clients by picking up a large tab, but nowadays most people want to get something for their money. The days of conspicuous consumption are long gone, and while I'm sure some of these places will survive many will be gone in the 10 years or so.

As others noted a lot of these places have an old school menu that is geared to octogenarians. That is a crowd that wants familiar foods with little to no spices, and wants them cooked to hell (except for the steak). For anyone under 60 it doesn't matter how good the steak is - if you're charging close to $10 for things like bland creamed spinach or a baked potato you're doomed. You need more than a one note meal to charge the prices they're charging. The sides at some of these places are both awful and expensive. You can get a great steak at a place like Tango Sur and have a wonderful choice of sides at half the cost. For the same price you can go to the Brazilian all you can eat places and also have great sides and an insane salad bar.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vlajos View Post
What happens if a left winger like me likes meat?
Don't spend too much time thinking about that one until Chet can decide if "hipsters" are vegans or obsessed with bacon, he's having a hard time with that one. Hell, I'm a downright Socialist who hunts as well as butchers (and on occasion slaughters) his own meat.
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Old 07-09-2013, 10:26 PM
 
11,973 posts, read 30,460,498 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vlajos View Post
What happens if a left winger like me likes meat?
You should eat less meat so you can survive more election cycles.
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Old 07-09-2013, 10:29 PM
 
11,973 posts, read 30,460,498 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Attrill View Post
That is a crowd that wants familiar foods with little to no spices...
That's what I really don't like about many of the old steak houses. I know a perfectly marbled and carefully aged piece of meat is supposed to have a great flavor of its own, but I too often find the steaks bland and under seasoned. There's only so much a salt and pepper shaker can make up for.
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Old 07-10-2013, 02:35 AM
 
Location: Las Vegas
26 posts, read 29,515 times
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Thanks for the variety of replies. To address a few specifics....

1. It appears that a few others have concluded that the quality at Gibson's has gone down or hasn't really existed for quite a while.

2. Maestro's seems to get high marks. I was told about it by my realtor but he too spoke about rediculously high wine markup's. That's kept me from walking through the doors thus far.

3. The reason for the steakhouse is that I introduced my gf's newphew to filet mignon at Ruth's Chris in K.C. and promised him the same when he came to Chicago. The compromise was that we wanted to see if we could have a good meal AND sit outdoors. During the nicer months, this consideration plays into my decision making as to venue in a big way.

4. Chet, I would agree that there could be some confusion as to a "very simple preparation" but never seem to have that problem at ANY other higher end restaurant I go to. I travel 75% of my life on business and probably eat meals in restaurants 85% of the time. When is overcooked and tasteless ever an acceptable means of preparation? If there's a question, ask. I have wait staff do that all the time. I explain that I'd like it without butter and/or sauces, that pan sauteing in olive oil or simple grilling is fine. Some lightly steamed or grilled vegetables? Yup, that'll work. This isn't complicated and for $39-57 entrees, I'm sorry but I have a higher expectation of the establishment. As for the char on a wet aged steak, I would beg to differ. Morton's, no slouch to the steakhouse world, features wet aged steaks and these aren't served charred as you suggest. Had I ordered it "Pittsburgh" style, that's what I would have expected.

5. People still opt to go to steakhouses simply because the quality of meat that one can purvey in most retail locations pales in quality. I realize that there are exceptions but the figure that I've seen tossed around is that only 3% or less of the steaks sold for personal preparation are Prime whereas that's the standard classification at high end steakhouses. Simply put, you will be pressed to replicate the quality of steak you cook at home compared to a higher end steakhouse. Of course, it goes without say that you'll pay for this privilege.
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Old 07-10-2013, 06:54 AM
 
28,460 posts, read 81,422,282 times
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Without knowing where you do your meat shopping I agree that tracking down a top quality hunk of beef might not be easy. That said there are an abundance of sources in eastern DuPage Co. / west Cook. I cannot say enough good things about Standard Market, at the Westmont / Clarendon Hills border on Ogden Ave west of Rt 83. Also excellent is Prime and Tender Meats, in the Gateway Square of Hinsdale just north of Ogden off of York. A long time purveyor of superior meats and other grocery items is Casey's Market in downtown Western Springs, it's founder passed away last week but the rest of staff is still going strong with succession in place to carry it forward for generations. I have had good luck finding USDA Prime beef at Costco in Oak Brook though quantities and availability are not always predictable. I enjoy cooking high quality beef at home and I even outfitted my kitchen and outdoor patio with appliances designed to produce the deep char that enhances wet aged prime beef in consultation with the indoor & outdoor appliance experts at Abt.

I have enjoyed classic Chicago steak houses like Gibsons and Gene & Georgetti since my dad took me to 'em when I was a kid. It is NOT just nostalgia that keeps them popular money makers, they do things right. Last night, prompted by this thread I took my wife and another couple out for an impromptu treat to the Oak Brook Gibson's. We sat on the patio, where the humidity was darned near bayou-like. Our waiter was attentive and responsive. Some of the party had mixed drinks suggested by the waiter and they were suitably cold and potent, as well they should be for the premium charged. Other of the party enjoyed a bottle of wine that was no more marked up than other upscale resturants. One couple ordered the big slab. It was does to perfect medium rare with a substantial char that enhanced the flavor. The other party went with a more modest sized boneless steak, specifically asked for "light char" and it too was done perfectly. Final member of the group went with fish, waiter asked about doneness, fish was delivered as ordered, in the modern still moist not overdone manner. Two sides were shared by all four, which was a heckuva lot of food, and we knew we'd die in the heat if we had any dessert. A great meal and a fair price, in atmosphere that cannot be found elsewhere. Don't know if the staff in Oak Brook is maybe a little less stodgy than Rush St but honestly there is no way I could fault anything in last night's meal. I enjoy trying new resturants -- have been to Moto a few times, as well as Alinea and Next, and more than a few of the "south American meat parades" and while very different in execution the dedication to excellence exhibited at G&G or Gibsons still strikes me as at least on par -- sports like ice hockey have a very different kind of athlete than the PGA tour but seeing a champion like Towes or Keith is not unlike seing some of the same intensity / dedication and respect for competition as McIlroy or Kuchar...

Casey's Market - History of a grocery store.

About | Standard Market

Prime 'N' Tender Meats Top Beef Grades

Find a Costco warehouse

Last edited by chet everett; 07-10-2013 at 07:47 AM..
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Old 07-10-2013, 09:14 AM
 
8,279 posts, read 11,251,295 times
Reputation: 10057
Quote:
Originally Posted by Attrill View Post
Ultimately the old school steak houses are doomed - it's just an out of date business model. I agree that a big part of their prices are just to let people show off to clients by picking up a large tab, but nowadays most people want to get something for their money. The days of conspicuous consumption are long gone, and while I'm sure some of these places will survive many will be gone in the 10 years or so.

As others noted a lot of these places have an old school menu that is geared to octogenarians. That is a crowd that wants familiar foods with little to no spices, and wants them cooked to hell (except for the steak). For anyone under 60 it doesn't matter how good the steak is - if you're charging close to $10 for things like bland creamed spinach or a baked potato you're doomed. You need more than a one note meal to charge the prices they're charging. The sides at some of these places are both awful and expensive. You can get a great steak at a place like Tango Sur and have a wonderful choice of sides at half the cost. For the same price you can go to the Brazilian all you can eat places and also have great sides and an insane salad bar.



Don't spend too much time thinking about that one until Chet can decide if "hipsters" are vegans or obsessed with bacon, he's having a hard time with that one. Hell, I'm a downright Socialist who hunts as well as butchers (and on occasion slaughters) his own meat.
Great post--I agree. I rarely/almost never go to these places, but yes, all the sides dishes are "extra", and the meal does become an exercise in conspicuous consumption, because there's no way that you can avoid it. I'm certainly not going to pay over $50 for a steak that I can get somewhere else for half the price. In addition, there has been an explosion of burger places in Boston/Cambridge within the last year, and you can certainly get your beef "fix" for much less outlay than am old-fashioned, expensive steakhouse...
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Old 07-10-2013, 10:03 AM
 
Location: Chicago, IL
3,793 posts, read 4,403,441 times
Reputation: 3341
Quote:
Originally Posted by Attrill View Post
I don't think Gibson's has dropped in quality as much as the rest of the world has risen in quality.
Yep. I think that's a good way of putting it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Attrill View Post
otherwise I can make excellent steaks at home.
That's exactly why I rarely go to steak houses. If I'm going to pay $30-50 or more for an entree I want it to be something I can't make myself, or at least something that would take way too much time and effort to make myself. Maybe even something unique enough that I wouldn't have thought to make it myself. I love steak, but I can make one with very little shopping, prep or cook time at 1/4 the price of a steakhouse (and that's before drinks, tax, and tip), and often just as good.

Quote:
Originally Posted by prelude91 View Post
What Gibson's does have that many other steak houses lack is the prime location.
The Viagra Triangle? I can see how that would have been a prime location decades ago, but I doubt the old dudes who frequent that area now are buying many giant steaks for their rented anorexic trixies. I think Gibson's is surviving on it's name, and would do just as well with any convenient-to-downtown location.
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Old 07-10-2013, 10:11 AM
 
Location: Bay Area
1,490 posts, read 2,559,106 times
Reputation: 790
Quote:
Originally Posted by chet everett View Post
Without knowing where you do your meat shopping I agree that tracking down a top quality hunk of beef might not be easy. That said there are an abundance of sources in eastern DuPage Co. / west Cook. I cannot say enough good things about Standard Market, at the Westmont / Clarendon Hills border on Ogden Ave west of Rt 83. Also excellent is Prime and Tender Meats, in the Gateway Square of Hinsdale just north of Ogden off of York. A long time purveyor of superior meats and other grocery items is Casey's Market in downtown Western Springs, it's founder passed away last week but the rest of staff is still going strong with succession in place to carry it forward for generations. I have had good luck finding USDA Prime beef at Costco in Oak Brook though quantities and availability are not always predictable. I enjoy cooking high quality beef at home and I even outfitted my kitchen and outdoor patio with appliances designed to produce the deep char that enhances wet aged prime beef in consultation with the indoor & outdoor appliance experts at Abt.
Which stop on the Blue line can take me there?


Paulina Market is the default for most people.

But, for something a little better and prime cuts, there's Olympic Meat in the Meatpacking district at Randolph and Halsted.
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Old 07-10-2013, 10:11 AM
 
Location: Chicago, IL
3,793 posts, read 4,403,441 times
Reputation: 3341
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lookout Kid View Post
That's what I really don't like about many of the old steak houses. I know a perfectly marbled and carefully aged piece of meat is supposed to have a great flavor of its own, but I too often find the steaks bland and under seasoned. There's only so much a salt and pepper shaker can make up for.
Yep, that's another advantage to making my steak at home. I can marinate and/or season it to my own taste. I've had amazing steaks at high-end steak houses, but I've had mediocre ones, too. Either way I'm out $60 that I'd have rather spent on sushi. It's just not worth the gamble like it is for an $8 steak at home.
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