What would make someone want to open a restaurant in Chicago? The competition is stiff. We are one of the finest restaurant cities in the world. So if you’re going to be brave enough to enter the ring and compete with the big dogs, you better be good or you will never survive.
That’s not a problem for one of the new kids on the block, Maple & Ash. It’s located in the Gold Coast, very expensive, very loud and it’s hard to get a reservation. So why bother? Well for starters, the food is excellent, the decor is beautiful and the bar area is fast becoming one of my all time favorites in the city. It really is a fun location.
I’ve been several times already and everytime the meal is delicious. But let’s start with the interior design. The first floor is a more casual bar but head upstairs and it’s simply stunning. Very earthy and dimly lit with a gorgeous chandelier on the ceiling of the main floor and white table cloth seating with candelabras.
It’s billed as a steakhouse and they know how to do it right. You are greeted with a complimentary martini, cheddar cheese and assorted green olives. If you love red meat the steaks are cooked as ordered. I know that sounds crazy but I can’t tell you how many steakhouses either under-cook or overcook their signature dish.
When you’re paying these prices you want them cooked to perfection and they are. There are several options. The Eisenhower, a colossal porterhouse, and the bone in rib eye are great for sharing. Sharing is ideal because you’re going to want to try as much as you can on the menu.
The seafood tower is beautifully presented with a variety of options to choose from such as oysters, lobster and scallops. The caviar is another indulgent option that you don’t often see on a steakhouse menu. Price for that ranges from $100 to $220.
Here’s some of the items I love. In the appetizer department the charred spanish octopus, meatballs and shrimp de jonghe are very tasty. As far as sides, baked and loaded potato, brussel sprouts w/bacon and crispy fries are all worthy.
They actually offer some beautiful desserts if you can even think about that after you’ve consumed all that food. We celebrated a girlfriends birthday and decided to end our meal with what’s called the “Sundae Service.”(I forgot to mention, their menu is whimsical with a play on words for many of the items). It’s ice cream for the table with a tower of toppings that included among the typical offerings, toasted coconut and hot caramel sauce.
Finally, like I said, the bar is very inviting. The couches and chairs give you that living room feeling and the cocktail and wine options seem to be limitless. All in all, you won’t be disappointed in the food. Is it worth it? I think for a special night, yes! The ambience and food combined are pretty unique.
There’s no doubt it’s one of the cities hippest new hotspots. If you hate loud restaurants, maybe this isn’t for you. But if you don’t mind spending some money for a delicious meal and you can get a reservation, I say go for it. I’ll definitely be back. You only live once, right?
Any new restaurants you recommend? Let me know.