“There aren’t enough steakhouses in Gold Coast,” said no one ever. Chicago’s notorious steak scene is already concentrated just west of the lake in the glitzy, bright, touristy stretches along Michigan Avenue and Rush Street, so why in God’s name would we need another one? Because in the Venn Diagram of Steakhouses, Maple & Ash sits in the middle.
Traditionally, Chicago steakhouses are delineated into two camps: old school, white table cloth meat havens that serve pieces of cake as big as your head (see: Gibson’s), and new, uber trendy power steakhouses that cater to people wearing tie clips (see: RPM Steak). Maple & Ash maintains the glamour, portion size, and quality of an old school steakhouse, but also has the freshness, menu selection, and soundtrack of a new steakhouse. It’s the best of both worlds. They could do without try-hard menu items like the “Scotchy Scotch Scotch” cocktail, but we’ll take tongue-in-cheek to overly stuffy.
Downstairs, you’ll find a lively bar catering to a slightly older crowd. But take the elevator up to the dining room with plush velvet chairs, candlesticks, and wood paneled ceilings for a glamour steakhouse that isn’t stale. The crowd mixes it up with tables of 20-something girls cheers-ing over gin martinis, couples stepping up their date night, and old dudes rubbing elbows. It’s not too old, not too young, but just right.
In case you were wondering, and we know you are, the steak is fantastic. It’s worth the splurge for the 28 day dry aged bone in ribeye, or take them up on the $145 chef’s tasting menu entitled “I Don’t Give a !@#$.” Kick back, relax, and let Maple & Ash take you to a meaty, magical paradise.
We’re a sucker for freebies, and Maple & Ash sets the bar high with free mini gin martinis, olives, radishes, cheese, and most importantly, this fluffy, thick sourdough bread. We asked for three rounds of it because 1.) we’re cheap bastards who considered stashing a loaf in our purse, and 2.) it’s that good.
This wedge isn’t messing around. A huge piece of iceberg doused in ranch with blue cheese, cherry tomatoes, and plump, thick bacon squares. A little heavy-handed on the dressing, but you weren’t going to win healthy points on this meal anyway.
A traditional crab salad with butter lettuce, grapefruit, avocado, and a sweet vinaigrette dressing. A lot lighter than the wedge.
Yep, they’re delicious.
It wouldn’t be a steakhouse without a proper seafood tower. Choose between “semi-pro” or “baller” sizes of towering shrimp, oysters, lobster, scallops, etc.
For reasons beyond our comprehension, people always order filets. It’s offensive, especially when you have not one, but two ribeyes on the menu. Ribeyes are your best bet - flavorful, thick, juicy, with an abundant marbling of fat, and this 22 ounce cut is a good place to start. Warning, once you go ribeye, you never go back.