There’s a semi-famous painting called “The Treachery of Images” by Belgian surrealist René Magritte. It’s not as well-known as the artist’s painting of a man in a bowler hat with an apple in front of his face, but you’ve probably seen it. It’s a painting of a pipe with the caption “Ceci n’est pas une pipe,” or in English, “This is not a pipe.
Fans of the TV show “Hell’s Kitchen” will tell you that preparing beef Wellington is a nightmare for any cook. The dish requires a golden puff pastry wrapper on the outside and a perfectly cooked steak on the inside. Gordon Ramsay, the show’s famously foul-mouthed host, has dubbed many a contestant a “[bleep]ing donkey” for screwing up a Wellington. Had Ramsay dined with me at Swift & Sons, a new steakhouse collaboration between the Boka Restaurant Group (Balena, Boka, Girl & the Goat, Momotaro and more) and B. Hospitality (The Bristol, Balena, Formento’s and Nonna’s), he would have had a field day.
STK, as their website preaches, is not your daddy’s steakhouse. But based on its name and extension of a vowel-challenged spelling paradigm to the menu (Lil’ BRGS, anyone? That’s little burgers, in case you didn’t get it), it’s clearly not a steakhouse for grammarians, either. Relative to Chicago’s rich bounty of steakhouses, STK’s selling points are a multitude of tables grouped really close together and optimized for mingling and regular late-night DJ appearances. All I could really tell before setting foot in the door was that STK was the 10th location of the New York-based chain from The One Group, a purveyor of something called “lifestyle hospitality.” Confused, I set out to discover what it was and, of course, answer the eternal food critic question: Did it SCK or was it AWSM
Prime & Provisions. It sounds like some kind of glamping retreat for investment bankers, right? With its luxury pricing and bevy of dry-aged steaks, that’s not far from the truth, but it’s actually the newest entry in the downtown steakhouse game from Dineamic Group. Though the founders—Luke Stoioff and David Rekhson—might be most known for creating bro-friendly bars Bull & Bear and Public House, their current strategy is to move from bars with good eats to mature, full-fledged restaurants. That brought on the opening of Italian restaurant Siena Tavern with “Top Chef” fan favorite Fabio Viviani in 2013, and now, Prime & Provisions, which opened earlier this month in the Loop
They say you can’t be all things to all people, but Chop Shop sure is trying. This new addition to Wicker Park is a lunch counter, butcher, bar, restaurant, event space and even makes its own giardiniera.