Field. McCormick. Glessner. Palmer. What do these names have in common, besides all belonging to influential and affluent Chicago families? They also could all be found on mailboxes (well, presuming they had them) in the Prairie Avenue District at one time or another. This is the district once served by the over 100-year-old limestone and yellow-brick firehouse where the Chicago Firehouse restaurant now resides (for a more contemporary reference, the building was also featured in the 1991 film "Backdraft").
Today, customers can have an aperitif at the long, inviting oak bar and seat themselves next to the two polished-to-a-shine brass fire poles. The Chicago Firehouse also restored the original tin ceiling and "chief's wall" to their original condition. A courtyard allows for alfresco dining, and private dining is available in the basement wine cellar, but you'll have to make your reservations well in advance for that.
Led by renowned chef Kendal Duque, the Firehouse serves some of his favorite dishes in addition to the classic steakhouse fare. Try the entree-sized grilled veal chop with rosemary potato, and sweetbread–cipollini onion ragout or a pan-roasted rainbow trout with Brussels sprouts, wild mushrooms, pork belly and cashew vinaigrette. Or go straight meat with an eight-ounce filet mignon. All steaks come cooked to order, and can be crusted for an extra $3.
Pair your meals with a selection from the extensive wine list and leave room for dessert. The service here is among the best in the city: attentive without being cloying.
Average cost: $31+
Centerstage Reviewer: Chuck Sudo