**** (4 stars)
I guess I was expecting a bit more from this place because of all the buzz, but it was good. With only 36 seats, and many of them at the bar, reservations are essential. We arrived on the early side of the evening, but it quickly filled up. Despite the small space and brick walls, sound levels were not too bad.
Our waiter was very good, and our bus boy was the best I’ve ever encountered, really on top of every little detail, offering to replenish my wife’s glass of ice, package up every little leftover, even sauces, keeping two types of water refilled, and very professionally clearing and resetting the table several times during our meal.
Much of the food is on the heavy side. We started with the lightest dish, trout crudo. There were many interesting flavors, from citrus to olive to herb. My wife didn’t care for it because she prefers a more acidic preparation for raw fish, and this one was covered in oil, but I liked it.
We then tried the short rib beignets, because of all the raves. Honestly, these are more like fritters, a heavy ball of deep fried dough, with short ribs in the center, served with a brown dipping sauce. I thought they were just okay, but my wife, who is not a big short rib fan, liked them. One each was plenty, though.
We shared a 35-day aged rib eye. Again, we disagreed somewhat. My wife prefers a leaner cut such as a New York strip, and this was admittedly a very fatty rib eye. I thought it was good, and the accompanying bearnaise was excellent, but I admit the steak was not a top ten, even in Chicago.
We tried three sides. Asparagus was a mix of green and white, simply served with melted butter. It was fine, but not memorable. My wife loved the beef fat fries. These were indeed very good, better than the usual duck fat fries, but so rich that just a few were plenty. The best side was the cauliflower gratin, a rich blend of leek, gruyère, and béchamel, baked in an iron dish.
Overall I thought Boeufhaus was a good restaurant, but not one I’d bother to travel to again, with so many other Chicago steakhouses nearer us in River North. That said, I am still searching for a truly great steak experience in this town famous for steakhouses.
1012 N Western Ave
Chicago, IL 60622