Saveur's July "Steak Issue" just arrived, its cover promising "Our 7 Favorite Steak Houses." I immediately wondered if the venerable Gene & Georgetti made it. Sure enough, there it is between Milwaukee's 5 O'Clock Club and Omaha's Gorat's, the copy hot and damp in its praise of G&G's "unmistakably masculine vibe."
Furthermore, "The restaurant attracts both tourists and Chicagoland burghers, who look as built into the place as the bricks and mortar. Everyone gets the same superb steaks and and chops, though."
I might be reading too much into it, but does that strike anyone else as a little coy? Its almost as if author Josh Ozersky, editor of New York magazine's food blog, Grub Street, isn't willing to admit what most "burghers" know. That G&G's is a consummate insiders' restaurant, prime seating and care reserved for celebrities, wiseguys, and politicans under federal indictment (or soon to be). Most people I know appreciate G&G's less for the steaks than for than for this unapologetically old school vibe. I mean the steaks are OK, but it's really the Don Rickles of Chicago steakhouses. You go to get crammed into the bar with your dirty martini, ushered past the swells on the first floor by a grumpy old man, and seated in cheap seats on the second with rest of the rabble. And the tourists.
And that's enough for most people. Every time I see my uncle in Pittsburgh, his jaw slackens, his saliva ducts go into overdrive, and he asks if I've been back to Gene & Georgetti's. No, I'll tell him. I'm waiting for you to take me.