When Next last did big meat with its 2013 menu the Hunt, the result was an edible survey of dining best described as red in tooth and claw, from a Michigan hunter's game jerky to a lushly barbaric squab course on French china. So it was a bit of a letdown by comparison that three menus later, Chicago Steakhouse was pretty straightforwardly what it said it was—some old steak-house-style appetizers and sides and just one red meat course. There were more opportunities in the variety and heritage of red meat (rib eye to filet mignon! tartare to yakitori! L'Escoffier to chuck wagon!) than the restaurant seemed to want to explore.
For instance, they could have taken fine flank steak from Painted Hills, seasoned it, and then meat-glued it into a roll and aged it for a few weeks. Then they could have sliced it into carpaccio, doused it with blobs of a raisin-caper aioli that's like a more pucker-worthy version of hollandaise, and dotted it with crispy dehydrated cauliflower. Instead, this example of half-traditional, half-modernist Frankencharcuterie was the creation of Mike Sheerin and his crew at Cicchetti, the nominally Italian spot that sneaks Sheerin's WD-50 heritage in through the back door. Italian fact or science fiction, it's good; make it your next steak.
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Stephanie Izard of Girl & the Goat, Little Goat
Jake Bickelhaupt of 42 Grams
Girl & the Goat
The Violet Hour
Mojito at Carnivale