photo credit: Christina Slaton
El Che Steakhouse & Bar
Some things are just meant to be, like Cory and Topanga, or our six-year-old-selves knowing in our hearts we’re meant to be with the Pink Power Ranger. It’s fate. Nothing can stop it. And fate would have it that El Che Bar was destined to be a really great restaurant in a very particular spot.
The old Checker Taxi building in the West Loop is a relic from the past. The teal tile exterior wouldn’t be the first choice for construction projects today, but the prime West Loop location meant someone would gut the interior and redo the place. And three letters from the old Checker sign out front set the perfect backdrop for the trendy Argentinian-inspired restaurant that now sits inside: CHE
You can’t tell from the outside, but after walking in you’ll realize El Che Bar is a happening place. It’s loud, modern, and trendy, but in a tasteful way that makes you want to be there, not talk sh*t about everyone inside. It’s perfect for date night, whether just the two of you or a few couples together, and any other general gathering of friends and family looking to have a nice and fun night out. But the main reason you want to be here is for the food.
El Che Bar isn’t strictly a traditional Argentinian restaurant or steakhouse, but it’s clearly rooted in Argentinean cuisine. Lean heavy on anything cooked on the easily visible grill with the huge flames, and be prepared to feel the literal heat if you sit close it. Everything from roasted oysters to morcilla (blood sausage) to steaks are excellent and should play a large role in your meal. But feel free to mix in salads, pastas, and sides so you don’t totally overdose on meat. It’s all delicious and it’s all meant to be shared, which means anywhere from 4-8 people is the sweet spot for trying a lot of food.
Don’t fight fate. Go to El Che Bar and embrace the good in life.
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Roasted Beets & Provoleta
Roasted beets and provoleta with a bit of greens. The provoleta is the real star, and it’s a nice small starter to get things rolling.
Our choice of salads if you want lettuce to start.. Arugula with manchego cheese, sunflower seeds, apples, and a creole mustard vinaigrette.
Grilled oysters are generally delicious, and that’s true here too. The exact preparation will differ slightly, but they’re usually buttery and smoky with interesting ingredients and always great.
Clams are excellent. And clams cooked in garlic butter with chorizo are the most excellent. That’s these clams.
Morcilla is blood sausage, and we know this isn’t for everyone but we encourage you to give it a try. It’s really good, and it’s not like regular sausages or hot dogs you’ve eaten are made of organic plants and seeds.
A must order. Whatever kind of seasonal ingredients are accompanying the gnocchi that day, you want it. It could be mushroom, swiss chard, parmesan, or all of them together. The gnocchi itself is awesome and the sauces are always just as good.
Braised Lamb Ribs
Surprisingly really great. The steaks from the asado section of the menu are the meat heavyweights, but if you have a bigger group or are just looking to mix things up, get the ribs instead. The yogurt and mint relish is the perfect counterpart for the meat.
Quail is a pretty bony bird in general. We like this quail with polenta, braised mustard greens, and a mostarda sauce, but unless you don’t eat red meat, skip it. The other stuff is better, which is a testament to the steaks and ribs more so than a knock against the quail.
10oz Brick Layer Ribeye
This is a particular cut of ribeye that’s pounded out and served with a chimichurri sauce. It’s great and our go-to choice for sharing a steak between two people.
80z Filet Dada
An 8oz filet with mustard steak sauce. You can’t really go wrong with any of the meats. If you’re a filet person, this is a good personal size to get for yourself.
22oz Bone-In Ribeye
If you really want to go all out, get the 22oz bone-in ribeye. Simply put, it’s excellent.
The sides are all good complements to the meal, but if you’re trying to pick one this would be our choice. A cheesy side dish of cauliflower topped with gruyere béchamel, cornmeal fried onions, and shaved parmesan. It’s basically potatoes au gratin with cauliflower instead, so it’s healthy because cauliflower is a vegetable. At least that’s what we tell ourselves.
Alfajores are common in Argentina, and they’re usually two cookies with some sort of sweet cream in the middle, like dulce de leche. This is El Che Bar’s take on an ice cream sandwich version, and you’re going to like it.