Searching for steak but tired of your regular table at Morton's? Head a few blocks southwest. Offering top-quality cuts and a broader bistro approach, Keefer's Steakhouse is certainly on par with the neighboring Ruth's Chris, where owner Glenn Keefer hails from.
The menu fuses American chop house with the best of bistro, courtesy of chef John Hogan (Everest Room, Kiki's Bistro). Proving there's more to this steakhouse than mashed potatoes and beef, starters include prosciutto-wrapped asparagus with fontina fondue, onion soup gratinee and broccoli salad with shaved fennel and apple.
Steak offerings zero in on the classics, from the small filet mignon ($29.95) to the massive porterhouse ($47.95). And when you're picking that potato side, consider the crispy potato pancake, served with apple butter and sour cream. Don't overlook the separate bistro menu, which presents spinach and roasted tomato ravioli, fish & frites and seafood pot pie.
The enormous round space seats 240 patrons and features a circular bar and enormous picture windows overlooking the Chicago River. Keefer's favorite part of his restaurant's motif? Its diners. "We fill up every day," he says, "and it's even prettier when it's full." Reservations recommended.
Average cost: $31+
Centerstage Reviewer: Carly Schwartz