World Series Steakhouses: Cleveland vs. Chicago

steakWith two games in the books, we now have a break in the 2016 World Series as the Indians and Cubs prepare for game three tomorrow night at Wrigley Field.

Which gives us time to consider a critical question: Of the two cities represented in the World Series — Cleveland and Chicago — which has the best steakhouse?

In Cleveland, if you want that “classic steakhouse” experience, there’s only one place to go: Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse.

White tablecloths with plenty of starch. Check.

Wait staff decked out in aprons. Check.

Classic baked onion soup. Filet mignon. Surf and turf. Check. Check. Double check.

Perhaps best of all, for those attending the World Series, Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse is connected by an indoor walkway to Progressive Field, the home of the Indians.

(Note: There are other Hyde Park Prime locations in Cleveland, but it’s the downtown location we’d recommend for baseball fans.) has a few other steakhouse suggestions here.

While I must rely on the goodwill and charity of others for my Cleveland steakhouse suggestion, I can draw upon 13 years of living in the Windy City for my Chi-town recommendations.

Yes, that’s recommendations with an S because I’m going to share both a personal favorite and what should be a Chicago Cubs fan favorite.

During my years in Chicago, my best steakhouse experiences were at Kinzie Chophouse, a downtown restaurant that took its wine program seriously — to the extent that it would host winemaker dinners on a regular basis.

While those dinners have become less frequent, proprietor Susan Frasca still makes wine a priority, with bottle and by-the-glass lists that complement the menu’s main courses. Better still, it’s something of a “neighborhood joint,” which means the prices are more reasonable that you’d encounter at some of downtown Chicago’s more famous steakhouses.

For the more frenzied Cubs fan — and what Cubs fan would not be frenzied after going 108 years without a World Series victory? — the place to go is Harry Caray’s Italian Steakhouse in the River North neighborhood.

When the Cubs aren’t playing, it’s a serious restaurant with plenty of prime and aged steaks and chops, along with various Italian favorites. When the Cubs are on TV, it’s still a serious restaurant, but don’t go with any expectation of being able to carry on a quiet conversation. You’re either a Cubs fan or you’re not, and if you’re not, you may as well go someplace else to eat until the baseball season concludes.

Grilling season may be near its end for 2016 — with the exception of tailgate parties, of course — but steak season is upon us. Especially when the temperature dips, nothing beats a juicy, flavorful steak, accompanied by a baked potato or grilled veggies, and a glass of red wine.

steakwinesWhat type of red wine? Several varieties make good pairing partners, but the trait they share is a certain “weight” and tannin structure that melds with the flavors of the meat. Steak calls for “big” wines, like those in this perfect collection begging for fine cuts of meat curated by the Vinesse tasting panel, featuring a classy red aged in Bourbon barrels for 3 months.

The Cleveland Indians have not won a World Series since 1948. The Cubs have not been baseball’s world champions since 1908. Come next Sunday night — or earlier, should one of the teams win four games before then — one long stretch of frustration will end, and another will be prolonged.

Or, to put it another way, one team will feast on steaks (and wine!), while the other weeps over table scraps.

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Posted in Editor's Journal, Wine Buzz
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