Chicago steakhouses are like Jay Cutler interceptions: there are many, and you know they’ll keep on coming. They’re all similar, with big sweeping spaces, standard side dishes, and formal service. Boeufhaus, however, is a Chicago steakhouse that stands uniquely its own.
“Steakhouse” doesn’t even adequately describe Boeufhaus. It’s more like a hip, underground, meat-centric club. A type of tavern or brasserie you’re more likely to find in New York City, like a Raoul’s or Minetta Tavern, rather than what you’re accustomed to in River North or the Gold Coast. What we mean is that instead of the usual massive, carefully decorated steakhouse setup, Boeufhaus is small, with only about 35 seats and minimal design. The walls are barren aside from exposed brick, the lights are dim, and noticeable music gives it an edge. It’s not a place you bring your parents or use the corporate expense account – it’s a place you come with a small group of friends or a date and strongly consider eating at the bar.
While Boeufhaus may not be a traditional steakhouse, you still want to eat a large piece of meat. The bread and butter of the menu is an “A La Carte Boeuf” section, highlighted by a 22 oz, 55-day dry aged ribeye. There are a few other options – including a smaller ribeye and a few other cuts of meat if you want to tone it down a notch – but base your dinner on at least one of them and fill in the blanks with appetizers and sides to share.
Boeufhaus might not be the kind of steakhouse Chicago is accustomed to, but it’s the kind of steakhouse we needed.
A small salad with vegetables and greens. Nothing to get excited about.
Who needs salad anyway when you can start with short rib beignets? Tender short rib stuffed inside fried dough pastries, served with au jus. This is delicious.
Creamy polenta topped with a “tapenade” of escargot, which is basically minced escargot pieces. That might not sound appealing, but this stuff is awesome. Polenta and escargot is our new favorite mix.
If you closed your eyes and took a bite without knowing what this is, you might actually mistake it for mac and cheese. Creamy cauliflower au gratin with leeks, grueyére, béchamel sauce, and an herbed bread crumb topping. Strong side choice.
All of the steaks are expertly prepared, but if you want a big *ss cut of beef to take down, this is the move. It’s pre-sliced, so all you have to worry about is the eating. All steaks are served with a choice of bordelaise, béarnaise, or au poivre sauce, and we support you getting any of the three.
Boeufhaus does lunch during the week and on Saturdays from 11:00am-3:30pm. If you work or live nearby, this would be a good spot to grab something quickly. But we once went on a Saturday at noon, and it was absolutely dead to the point of being weird. It was a turnoff, and the opposite of the great atmosphere during dinner. A shame, too, because the sandwiches – pastrami in particular – are really good.