Try saying the word ‘steak’ without salivating just a little. I dare you.
It is the food of celebrations and milestones. It can represent deep pockets or bare essentials, depending on what cut you choose.
Steak can be cut, cooked and prepared dozens of ways, but for this challenge we kept things simple, as it should be. It turns out filet mignon out here is only a few dollars more than the other cuts so we went with medium rare filet at all points.
Since going out for steak isn’t a case of just sitting down to a hunk of beef, the sides will also be taken into account.
I have long held the opinion that if you have to add anything to a steak after it is cooked, someone messed up, so we kept the A1 far from this challenge.
— Orland Park
One of Orland Park’s steak standbys has quite the reputation for good eating, and it did not disappoint. The lobster bisque is punch-in-the-face buttery rich in the best way possible and their twice-baked potato was crusted with a big layer of cheddar. For an extra $7 shrimp or scallops can be added for a makeshift surf and turf. Monday’s half-price wine bottles don’t hurt either.
It may be a little too late for such a suggestion, but if we are blessed with another glimpse of summer grab a meal on their patio with a soothing waterfall there to drown out conversations from other tables you aren’t interested in hearing.
I went the variety route and got the petite filet with three gigantic shrimp. The steak was cooked a perfect center red medium rare, and practically melted when chewed. It had a fantastic crust that benefited from just-right seasoning. At points the steak may have looked a pinch dry, but tasted anything but. The monster shrimp were a crisp, clean tasting bonus.
Don’t for get to try the odd green pickled noodles for a kick.
And our server was attentive and not too pushy given we closed the place.
Thumbs Up: Cooked perfectly, flavorful crust, didn’t need add ons, superb sides.
Thumbs Down: None, an excellent experience.
— Tinley Park
Luby’s seems to be more of a comfort food home and bar than a traditional steakhouse, but steak certainly fits into comforting meals. Leading up to the steak was a crisp and fresh iceberg, carrot cucumber and tomato salad with tangy and chunky blue cheese dressing, and a truly excellent herb bread with a housemade brushcetta spread of tomatoes, spices and oil.
Specials and add ons at Luby’s include Monday rollbacks with lower prices on main entrees and steak toppings of onions, mushrooms, peppers, cheese and the brushcetta.
The main event didn’t quite stand up. The steak had parts that were medium to medium well, although the more I cut into it, the more I found medium rare parts. While it had an excellent crust and still had juices to spare, it was a little bland. The twice-baked potato, on the other hand, was actually the best among all the places I went, and service was also friendly and quick.
Thumbs Up: Great sides and bread, attentive service, lots of specials.
Thumbs Down: Steak a little overcooked and bland at points, though it looked good.
— Oak Forest
The embodiment of old school in a great way, Gibbons was a suggestion made by folks even when we asked for Orland and Tinley steakhouses. Steak apparently does not know borders.
I started off with a great cream of broccoli soup with fresh florets and without too much salt that often kills such a soup. Gibbons also gets a bonus for pretzel and onion-sesame rolls for bread, two of my favorites. They also make a tart pickled bean salad that was a nice flavor match to the richness. Gibbons’ twice-baked potato is somehow the size of two potatoes in a swirl of crunchy cheese. Service was also top notch.
As for the main event, they really make a special steak. Perfectly cooked all through, with a great crust and also just-right seasonings. But Gibbons does have a secret weapon that elevates their steak to an epic height: lemon butter finish.
Just as the steak is done, they splash a dose of lemon butter to sizzle within the crust, and then serve the steak in a pool of it.
The added sauce is indulgent and right in so many ways, though it draws slightly away from the beef flavor. It did, however, leave this food sampler with a very tough decision.
Thumbs Up: Everything
Thumbs Down: Not enough food items to dip into the lemon butter sauce.
And the Crown of High Filet Steak Goes To…
This is genuinely a tough call. 94 West and Gibbons are about as evenly matched as it gets in terms of the steak quality, sides and even service. In the end, and as much as I could bathe in that lemon butter, I have to give it up to the beef that needed nothing additional to be delicious, and that distinction goes to 94 West. Though 94 West is the winner this time, we may have to try a different cut next time, because Gibbons definitely has a special knack worth noting.
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