Phil Stefani's 437 Rush takes diners back to the heyday of Chicago media, when breaking news was delivered via an overhead wire and the three-martini lunch made for a typical Wednesday. Capitalizing on its proximity to NBC Towers, the Tribune building and several other media outlets, the steakhouse's atmosphere seems perfectly appropriate for Murphy Brown and the FYI gang. Rich mahogany flooring, retro black and white tiling and stainless steel railings validate 437 Rush's claim of serving the media elite. Further proof is found in the hundred or so autographed photographs of notable editors. (Fun fact: Hillary Rodham Clinton was one of the first patrons of the new third floor bathroom.) It's likely that today's regulars are trading in the whiskey concoctions of a few generations ago for the 437 Signature Cosmopolitan: The apple martini with cinnamon-covered rim delivers potent sweetness that makes you want to keep them coming. And the majority of 437 Rush patrons do just that: Stop in for the happy hour drink specials and keep the party rolling through dinner. An extensive wine list is available with an emphasis on Italian and Cal-Ital blends.
The green bean timbale makes for a most pleasant surprise (bigne filled with parmigiano mouse, tomato fondue and a 10-year old balsamic reduction); the grilled spiced baby octopus is served with California cranberry beans in guazzeto and is as picturesque as it is delicious. Filet mignon is what puts this Italian steakhouse on the map; other prime steak offerings include chateaubriand, porterhouse, Kansas City strip and veal chop. Unlike employees at many other Chicago steakhouses, executive chef Federico Comacchio does not abandon his seafood or pastas, offering dishes like ahi tuna tagliata, served alongside a refreshing fried vegetable spaghetti.
Ordering dessert is a worthwhile, even if only for a bite (You'll end up devouring the whole order.). To satisfy any health instincts, choose the insalata di frutta gratinato and you can get your fresh fruit fix while savoring the accompanying vin santo sabayon.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Robin Wright