Often times we forget to take the time to sit down for a slow, leisurely lunch. Between lattes to go and salad bar boxes it’s easy to forget about taking an hour to just enjoy the food and atmosphere at a quintessential Chicago restaurant. A recent discovery, nestled away just blocks from Michigan Avenue, inspired me to slow down and savor a classic American meal.
David Burke’s Primehouse is the perfect excuse to take a longer weekday lunch or to find the time to sit down on a busy Saturday between shopping sessions on the Magnificent Mile. Located in The James Hotel on Ontario and North Rush (Map), Primehouse is much more than a noteworthy steak house.
I stumbled upon Primehouse one Saturday a few months ago. It was a cold, wintry day and my friend and I were exhausted from our Michigan Avenue shopping excursion. When I saw the Primehouse sign tucked below The James Hotel awning I immediately associated the name with high reviews about the steak they offered. I expected long lines and a snooty host when we entered but was pleasantly surprised when a friendly face and quaint corner table beckoned us in. A Saturday evening here might find you waiting in line, squished between locals, steak lovers, tourists and the like, but Primehouse on a Saturday during lunch is surprisingly intimate and crowd-free.
Primehouse is not radically different than your typical steak house with white linens on tables, meticulously dressed servers, and an elegant dining room feel throughout. However, Primehouse’s tall windows overlooking the bustling Chicago street life allow daylight to filter through the dining room creating an upbeat atmosphere within a classic lunch establishment.
After ordering a glass of Napa wine from the extensive Wines by the Glass list I switched my attention to the enticing lunch menu. With appetizers, sandwiches, salads, sides, and of course, steaks, it’s hard not to find the perfect dish to satisfy your afternoon craving. My friend and I decided to bypass the steak section for a more lunch-appropriate choice by sharing a classic appetizer of deviled eggs, a tableside prepared Caesar salad and their renowned Prime Steak burger complete with truffle Asiago French fries. The menu had many other choices that all sounded delicious and perfectly appropriate for a Saturday afternoon feast.
When the food arrived we were not disappointed. The eggs were light and savory with an added touch of salt from Prosciutto chips. The tableside Caesar was made according to our requests (lots of parmesan, easy on the garlic) and each bite had a melt-in your-mouth effect. And the fun of watching our sweet waiter prepare it in front of us completed the experience. Last but certainly not least- the BURGER. Tender and juicy with just the right amount of tang from bacon mayo and crispy shallots, a diner’s heaven for sure. The side of fries gave the dish a well-balanced flavor pallet with earthy truffle oil and sharp Asiago cheese shavings. The meal was delightful! I wasn’t the only one with this raving review- Yelp.com rated Primehouse with 4 stars and lots of praise.
David Burke’s Primehouse is the perfect lunchtime destination for a weary shopper or Magnificent Mile resident looking for a top-notch Chicago restaurant meal without the long wait, pretentious hosts and noisy atmosphere. Whether you want to take advantage of their varied steak offerings and typical steakhouse sides or try a lunchtime specialty, Primehouse is a luxury daytime meal experience without an over the top price tag. And those truffle Asiago fries will leave you wanting more for weeks to come.
Meredith Lawrence is an Integrated Marketing Associate with Otherwise Incorporated for The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Chicago, Magnificent Mile.
Home Photo Credit: David Burke’s Primehouse