Not for Men Only: A Gal’s Guide to Steakhouses

The world over, Chicago’s known for a few things: Al Capone, Michael Jordan, wind velocity and red meat.

Long a bastion of the macho male, the steakhouse was the classic Chicago restaurant, filled with stinky cigars and great slabs of beef from the infamous Chicago Stockyards.

But not any more! The restaurants have realized that women make most of the decisions when it comes to eating out, and for them to stay vital (and solvent), they need to reach out to their desired female clientele. That means diversifying their menus.

And our suburban favorites are doing just that–mixing up Pomegranate martinis, chopping or grilling sushi-grade tuna, featuring adorable mini Kobe burgers, and more. Feel the love?

So next time you’re heading out with the girls (or your significant other… he’ll thank you for it!), consider one of the following for a night on the town. Sprinkled throughout our communities, these steakhouses are waiting for you to discover them. If you crave red meat, it’s there for the taking. But if not, you’ve got plenty of interesting options. Steakhouses are not for men only anymore!

Bavette’s Bar & Boeuf (Chicago)

Girly Highlights: Champagne Smash Cocktail; Salmon Tartare; Smoked Trout Caesar; Buttermilk Fried Chicken; Steak Frites; Elote-Style Corn; Gold Brick Sundae.

Chicago Cut Steakhouse (Chicago) Open for breakfast (!), lunch and dinner, so you can get that steak fix fulfilled at any time.

Girly Highlights: Lobsterscargot; Burrata with Vine Ripened Tomatoes; Tuna Tataki with Spicy Ponzu; Delmonico Steak au Poivre; Oven-Roasted Citrus Chicken.

EJ’s Place (Skokie) A real old-style supper club feel, with the classic wait staff clad in white coats and aprons–it’s a steak house with the soul of an Italian restaurant.

Girly Highlights: Prime-Aged Filet; Chicken Vesuvio; Spaghetti with Chilean Seabass Arrabbiata (yum!); Mussels Marinara; Chopped Salad with Chicken.

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar (Lincolnshire, Chicago) Unbelievable list of wines by the glass. Also the 5 for $6 until 7 happy hour, with 5 appetizers, 5 martinis, 5 glasses of wine (and a great burger) for only $6 each before 7 pm. A major bargain.

Girly Highlights: Tuna Mignon, seared rare with poppy seed au poivre and tomato sherry vinaigrette… it’s the other red meat! Lump Crab Louis Wraps; Tenderloin Carpaccio with Caper Creole Mustard Sauce; New Zealand Lamb Chops with Campagne Mint Sauce; Salmon Nicoise Salad.

Jimmy’s Charhouse (Riverwoods, Libertyville) A steakhouse with a healthy dose of Greek flavors.

Girly Highlights: Mediterranean Shrimp (sautéed with tomatoes and peppers, baked with feta and fontinella cheeses); Filet Mignon Kabobs; Fried Calamari Caesar Salad; Grecian-Style Pork or Lamb Chops; Wood-Roasted Grecian Chicken; Chopped Steak with Sauteed Onions.

Mastro’s (Chicago) This Beverly Hills import delivers the luxe.

Girly’s Highlights: Ahi Tuna Tostada; Spicy Mambo Salad; Signature Seafood Tower; Petite Filet; Alaskan King Crab-Black Truffle Gnocchi; Chocolate-Covered Strawberries.

Morton’s (Northbrook, Chicago) There’s a reason that this place remains popular… they are constantly updating their menu and changing with the times, while still catering to their core crowd.

Girly Highlights: Bar Bites Menu (Mini Crab Cake BLTs, Smoked Salmon Pizza, Mini Prime Cheeseburgers); Petite Filet Oskar (with asparagus, fresh crab and Bearnaise sauce); Sea Scallops Wrapped in Bacon; Morton’s Legendary Hot Chocolate Cake.

Myron and Phil (Lincolnwood) After 39 years, Myron & Phil is still a family-owned and operated restaurant. In this era of high-end chain restaurants, you gotta love that.

Girly Highlights: Seared Tuna on Mixed Greens; Garbage Salad with Shrimp; Homemade Ceviche; Chopped Liver; Veal Marsala; Marinated Romanian Skirt Steak with Burnt Onions.

Pete Miller’s (Evanston, Wheeling) Great bar scene (the Wheeling joint especially is known for being a hot bed of middle-aged activity) and terrific food.

Girly Highlights: Ginger Mojitos and Sangria-tinis; Firecracker Shrimp; Seared Yellowfin Tuna Medallions with Wasabi Cream; Seafood Chopped Salad (a whole Mexican/Asian thing going on there… a wow!); Creamed Spinach with Bacon and Mushrooms; and Braised Kobe Beef Short Ribs w/ Garlic Mashed Potatoes.

RPM Steak (Chicago) So hot right now, it’s incendiary. Lettuce Entertain You scores again with this gorgeous steakhouse.

Girly Highlights: Coal-Roasted King Crab; Colossal Tiger Prawns; Grass-Fed Steak Tartare with Chanterelles; Parker House Rolls; Millionaire’s Potato; Nutella Bread Pudding.

Ruth’s Chris Steak House (South Barrington, Northbrook) This restaurant’s New Orleans roots show in the menu.

Girly Highlights: Creole Crabtini; Petite Filet and Shrimp; Shrimp Remoulade; Ruth’s Jumbo Chop Salad; Stuffed Chicken Breast; New Orleans Bread Pudding.

Sullivan’s (Lincolnshire) I love that they had a Susan B. Komen Menu available in October. Clearly reaching out to the female customer! Lovely bar area.

Girly Highlights: Ahi Tuna Tartare; Chilled Seafood Sampler; Cheesesteak Egg Rolls; Filet Duxelles with Cabernet-Goat Cheese Butter; Three Cheese Mac with Garlic Butter Crust; Elderflower and Cucumber Martini.

The Tavern (Libertyville) Hmmm… choices, choices. Do you head upstairs to the beautiful, formal dining room or hang out in the new Tavern Lounge with its small plates and icy martinis?

Girly Highlights: Seared Sirloin Sashimi with Horseradish Sauce; Baked Shrimp de Jonghe; The Belgian’s Delight – steamed mussels and truffle-oil frites; 8 Oz. Delmonico Steak with Bleu Cheese Crust; Grilled Asparagus Bruschetta; Mini Kobe Burgers.

Wildfire (Glenview, Lincolnshire) This place is always bustling. I’ve never seen it less than full, no matter what time I go. The martinis are fab!

Girly Highlights: Baked Goat Cheese; Greek Salad; Horseradish-Crusted Filet, wrapped in Bacon; Cedar-Planked Salmon; Tuna Steak Teriyaki with Ponzu Sauce and Wasabi Cream; Ribeye Medallions al Forno with Parmesan Crust and Mushrooms.

Lead photo credit: Peppercorn Steak from Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar