North Shore Steak House Guide
FIlet Medallion Trio
At Wildfire Glenview, the dim lighting and handsome 1940s-themed décor evoke the class and sophistication of a bygone era, while still maintaining a relaxed appeal. The inviting atmosphere is the perfect match for the restaurant’s renowned dishes. Whether you prefer a fresh, light salad (such as the Greek salad or chopped salad) or a flavorful hot soup (like the shrimp & crab bisque or baked French onion soup), Wildfire serves a host of delectable starters. Yet nothing can compare to the filet mignon and steak entrées—signature dishes that have promoted Wildfire’s reputation as a leader in the steakhouse industry. The restaurant is known for its succulent filet medallion trio, a great dinner option that allows you to sample three different signature crusts or sauces—from double baked potato to blue cheese. The mouthwatering Parmesan crust, in particular, will leave you wishing for just one more bite. Wildfire also offers an impressive selection of wine and cocktails to complement the steaks’ unique flavors. Though the steak will be the highlight of your evening, you’ll likely be glancing at the dessert tray all evening; make sure to leave room for the triple chocolate cake or the homemade key lime pie. —Jenna Schubert
Wildfire Glenview is located at 1300 Patriot Boulevard in Glenview. For more information or to make a reservation, call 847-657-6363, or visit wildfirerestaurant.com.
Bertucci’s Steak & Seafood Restaurant in Highwood
An Italian steakhouse right in the heart of Italian-American Highwood, Bertucci’s is a place where you can have your steak and eat your pasta, too—in a truly family-friendly atmosphere that has something for everyone, and at a real value. Steaks and other entrées all include soup or salad, choice of potato or creamed spinach, plus grilled Italian vegetables. Be prepared to indulge on calories from the start, because you won’t want to miss Bertucci’s house specialty appetizer, deep fried artichoke fritters in a Béarnaise sauce. Surprisingly light and crisp, the whole table can satisfy their fritter fix with just one plate. Bertucci’s high-quality choice steaks offer just the right balance of texture and flavor, from their center cut grilled tenderloin filets, their 20 oz. “cowboy style” bone-in ribeye, and their signature 16 oz. New York strip alforno, an Italian-style steak topped with Parmesan and garlic. Bertucci’s also offers daily specials—a recent visit featured three individual petite filets deliciously encrusted with horseradish, blue cheese, and Parmesan. But the pasta sides are what sets Bertucci’s apart from other steakhouses. Their “world-famous” pasta, Mama Lena’s homemade tortellacci filled with spinach, asiago, ricotta, and Parmesan cheeses and topped with a creamy tomato basil sauce, is prepared by owner Bruce Bertucci using a secret recipe handed down from his Italian grandmother (Mama Lena) who emigrated here from Modena, Italy.
If you can, save room for Bruce’s special dessert, a take on bananas foster that is deliciously decadent and large enough for the table. Bertucci’s is known for its large selection of moderately priced, good quality wines, many of them Italian, and available by the glass. —Elaine Doremus
Bertucci’s Steak & Seafood Restaurant is located at 246 Green Bay Road in Highwood. For more information or to make a reservation, call 847-432-6663, or visit bertuccisitaliansteakhouse.com.
Pete Miller’s in Evanston
If you’re looking for a side of atmosphere to go with your steak, there’s no place like Pete Miller’s in Evanston. Located at the site of a former Smithfield’s Market, Pete Miller’s clubby décor—tin ceiling, dark wood bar, cozy dining nooks, white tablecloths, and brass-studded leather chairs—oozes with old-school sophistication. Factor in the restaurant’s nightly live jazz, and you have the makings of a very romantic destination (back in the day, Pete Miller’s was a frequent rendezvous for John Cusack and Neve Campbell). Even the 80-plus bottle wine list is suggestive, offering such categories as “sexy and sophisticated whites” and “bold and adventurous reds.” It’s best to start out with something light, like the shrimp cocktail (huge shrimp and delicious cocktail sauce), the Caprese salad (fresh and perfect), or the classic wedge salad (big enough to share). That way, you’ll have room for one of Pete Miller’s prime wet-aged steaks, such as the signature bone-in ribeye (again, big enough to share). If you’re in the mood for surf and turf, Pete Miller’s offers a variety of seafood accompaniments (such as a whole Maine lobster, a bargain at $20). While the menu offers up all the standard sides (jumbo baked potato, garlic mashed, mac and cheese), there are some healthier options, too (sweet potato fries, herb roasted mushrooms, steamed asparagus). For a sweet ending to a romantic meal, order up a crème brûlée, two spoons, and a couple snifters of Grand Marnier. —Kerrie Kennedy
Pete Miller’s is located at 1557 Sherman Avenue in Evanston. For more information or to make a reservation, call 847-328-0399, or visit petemillers.com.
Lovell’s of Lake Forest
The quiet ambience of Lovell’s of Lake Forest may seem like an understated highlight, but foodies should be prepared for a culinary experience that is out of this world. The restaurant’s vibe is warm and inviting, two traits that run parallel to the food presented by Executive Chef Jay Lovell and owner Jim Lovell (former Apollo 13 astronaut). With lighter appetizer options to complement the weight of the steak and seafood selections, high points on the menu include the seafood platter, with succulent selections like the Chesapeake Bay blue crab cakes and bacon-wrapped shrimp. For a nice wine pairing, try the Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling, a fruity and crisp Columbia Valley wine that seamlessly blends the sweetness of both the crab and shrimp dishes. Those craving a steak won’t be disappointed with the trio of filets offering, which successfully sums up the food at Lovell’s—cuisine that is rich, melt-in-your-mouth goodness. Each of the three filet mignons are cooked to perfection and come with a full-bodied sauce that includes a mushroom fricassee with red wine reduction, rock crab and Hollandaise sauce, and a goat cheese crust with a rich Bolognese sauce. Enjoy your meat with a robust glass of Kaiken Malbec, an Argentinian import with hints of fruit and butterscotch that leaves traces of deep flavor, perfect to enjoy with the tenderness of the filets. —Meryl Fulinara
Lovell’s of Lake Forest is located at 915 South Waukegan Road in Lake Forest. For more information or to make a reservation, call 847-234-8013, or visit lovellsoflakeforest.com.
Morton’s The Steakhouse in Northbrook
Morton’s is a Chicago institution that combines amazing food with excellent presentation, and they pull it off flawlessly. Upon arrival, entrée and side options arrive tableside for the most appetizing bout of show-and-tell in existence.
It’s hard to go wrong with either the bone-in filet mignon, the most oft-requested steak on their menu, probably because of its tenderness, or the Chicago style bone-in ribeye, the most flavorful. Morton’s is a Chicagoland staple for a reason: Their meat comes from their own stockyard right downtown (which can be visited by the exceptionally curious), and the steaks are then wet-aged three to four weeks before ending up on your plate.
Morton’s wine list is immense, as would be expected of a list honored by Wine Spectator as one of the finest in the world. Upon request, the house sommelier brings two wine samplings that would pair perfectly with your entrée and entertains you with the nuances and histories of each while you make your selection.
Don’t forget to order your dessert with the meal, Morton’s legendary sundae takes some time to prepare and is worth every minute with three scoops of Häagen-Dazs vanilla over Morton’s hot chocolate cake and hot fudge. And it’s impossible to top the “dessert in a glass,” Frangelico and Bailey’s on the rocks, perhaps the sweetest, most gratifying thing ever poured over ice.
Morton’s in Northbrook is a frequent gathering ground for Bears and Bulls players during their training seasons on the North Shore, but that’s not much of a surprise, they just know how to take care of people. —Jake Jarvi
Morton’s The Steakhouse is located at 699 Skokie Boulevard in Northbrook. For more information or to make a reservation, call 847-205-5111, or visit mortons.com.
Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Northbrook
For decades, the name Ruth’s Chris has been synonymous with serving top-notch steaks. With its warm, inviting atmosphere and old-fashioned, quality service, there is no question why this steakhouse continues to keep loyal customers coming back year after year. “We’ve seen families and their kids grow up here,” says General Manager John Stasick. Try starting off with an appetizer of super-fresh seared Ahi tuna and deep-fried spicy lobster pieces in a tangy Asian sauce—both paired nicely with a crisp Mosel German Riesling. Savor the velvety lobster bisque and prepare your appetite for one of their signature steaks. Meat-lovers will delight in the cowboy ribeye, a huge, flavorful cut—perfect for two to split (if you can share!) and served on a sizzling hot plate, topped with butter. A full-bodied Grgich Hills Estate Cabernet Sauvignon can hold its own against the strong flavor of the meat. Standout side dishes include creamy au gratin potatoes and sweet potato casserole with a caramelized pecan topping. The refined palate of the North Shore has even prompted this Northbrook location to offer certain dishes that other Ruth’s Chris restaurants do not. When in season, they offer an entrée of almond & pine nut crusted halibut, served with a lemon cream sauce and a refreshing key lime pie for dessert. If you’re not completely stuffed from your steak, a sweet ending to a great meal is warm bread pudding, made complete with a rich and slightly tropical Vidal Inniskillin Icewine. —Melissa Miller
Ruth’s Chris Steak House is located at 933 Skokie Boulevard in Northbrook. For more information or to make a reservation, call 847-498-6889, or visit ruthschris.com.