Now that spring has finally come to Chicago, restaurants are rolling out new seasonal menus. Benny’s Chop House (444 N. Wabash) has not only developed a fantastic new menu, but has also revitalized its commitment to live music.
Chicago is known for its music, and Benny’s Chop House celebrates the local music scene every Wednesday through Saturday. A hidden gem for jazz and under-the-radar destination for live music, Benny’s brings a fresh beat to River North, specializing in all genres including Traditional, Swing, R&B, Pop, Rock, Motown and Latin. All of their performers have been influenced by the best of the jazz genre. On a recent visit, we were able to experience the talents of Julie Ponce & Leandro Lopez Varady who are currently on the schedule each Thursday. For an updated schedule, visit the website.
Of course, when you come to a steak house you are there not only for music, but for food. The new spring menu at Benny’s Chop House keeps some old favorites and offers some exciting new items. On a recent visit, I was invited to sample a delightful array of menu items including the following:
- Jumbo Lump Crab Cake – As a native of the East coast, I am a hard sell on crab cakes. The trick, for me, is about the ratio of crab to filling. Benny’s gives one of the best crab cakes I have had in Chicago. The quantity of crab is superb, and the spices are subtle enough not to overpower the flavor of the crab itself. This is a great shareable appetizer.
- Chop House Maple-Glazed Bacon – This is an iconic dish at Benny’s. If you have to pick one appetizer, this is the one to choose.
- Ahi Tuna Poke – Although Benny’s is a steak house, their seafood selections are extraordinary. This tuna poke is a perfect size for sharing, but if you are like me, just order it and keep it for yourself. It’s that good.
- Lobster-Crab Ravioli (brown butter, saffron, dill) – With the high quality of the kitchen at Benny’s, how can they go wrong with this combination? The flavor of the saffron is subtle, the dill is just enough to give a hint of flavor, the focus is then on the delightful combination of seafood with the brown butter.
- Power Salad (kale, romaine, Brussels sprouts, red quinoa, edamame, apple, Gouda, almond slivers, honey-mustard vinaigrette) – For lighter eaters, this is a perfect solution. The combination of ingredients is innovative and flavorful.
- Japanese Black-Grade A5 Miyagi Filet / USDA Prime Dry-Aged Bone-In Ribeye / USDA Prime Natural Filet Mignon – For my visit, we were offered a “flight” of three different steak cuts. All of them were world-class and perfectly prepared. There are various opinions in the “foodie” world about the virtues of Kobe beef. It’s rather like politics – either you’re on one team or the other. In my case, I will let others debate the issue. What I can tell you is that the Kobe beef offered at Benny’s is perhaps the most delicious steak I have sampled. Ever. Fork-tender, buttery, amazing.
The beverage program is also outstanding. Benny’s has been recognized by Wine Spectator Magazine for five years in a row (2012-2016) for their extraordinary collection of 1700+ wine labels. The wines-by-the glass are also an extensive selection, sure to please even the most discerning oenophile. The craft beer selections are impressive, and their creative team of mixologists create unique craft cocktails to match the season.
For this new spring menu, a number of cocktails stand out:
- Concoction 444 (Dewar’s, honey-ginger syrup, thyme, Laphroaig spritz)
- Best Frenemy (jalapeño-infused Tromba, lemon-lime, pomegranate, salted rim)
- Revenge Body (Benny’s Chop House original vodka, passion fruit, lemon, sparkling Prosecco)
One of the most distinctive services provided by Benny’s is a selection of full menus translated into various languages. You can find menus in Arabic, French, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, and Spanish – both online and available in printed form at the restaurant.
Benny’s Chop House is located at 444 N. Wabash Avenue (between the river & Grand Ave). For more information, call (312) 626-2444 or visit their website. Happy Hour is Monday – Friday, 3 – 6 p.m. The restaurant is open 7 days a week beginning at 3 p.m. You can follow their social media conversations on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Photos by Mistey Nguyen.