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Ricobene's Breaded Steak Sandwich [Pic]

Ricobene's Breaded Steak Sandwich [Pic]
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  • Ricobene's Breaded Steak Sandwich [Pic]

    Post #1 - April 7th, 2005, 3:16 pm
    Post #1 - April 7th, 2005, 3:16 pm Post #1 - April 7th, 2005, 3:16 pm
    While Mike G has set forth to provide us with a list of "The Essential" dining establishments and foodstuffs in the Chicagoland area*, I suppose that I am beginning to compile my own sort of definitive list. But, I must admit to you that mine is a beast of an entirely different stripe.

    You see, while Mike G's list contains the sheerly superlative, my list instead contains the sheerly superfluous.

    So, with my first submission behind me, and without any further ado, here is the second addition to my list of what I am calling, "The Inessentials."


    Image
    Ricobene's "Regular Size Breaded Steak" with Hot Gardiniera and Mozzarella Cheese


    There were moments when I was absolutely convinced that I was eating breaded carpet padding.


    Regards,
    Erik M.

    Ricobene’s
    252 W. 26th Street
    312.225.5555



    * Mike G's list presently includes El Llano/Brasa Roja, Ed's Potsticker House, and Superdawg.
  • Post #2 - April 7th, 2005, 3:49 pm
    Post #2 - April 7th, 2005, 3:49 pm Post #2 - April 7th, 2005, 3:49 pm
    I tried the breaded steak sandwich once and thought it was very bland and the carpet padding analogy fits nicely. I actually dont see the facination with Ricobene's as their pizza is average and there signature items like the breaded steak sandwich is very bland!

    I'm sure poeple like there food, but not me... I just think its over rated fast food.

    /polster
  • Post #3 - April 7th, 2005, 3:57 pm
    Post #3 - April 7th, 2005, 3:57 pm Post #3 - April 7th, 2005, 3:57 pm
    The encounter occurred at the Taste of Chicago a few summers ago (yes, I know about the Taste, but I work on Michigan Ave. right across from Grant Park and visit once every couple of years to get lunch). Looking over the offerings that year, I noticed the Breaded Steak Sandwich.

    Now, I was weaned off of mother's milk by Chicken-Fried Steak (and CFS sandwiches), so, of course, I got all hot and bothered and excited and rushed right over. I couldn't have been more disappointed: I found it to be a gooey, textureless, unappealing mess. I just don't get it, and probably never will. The soggy-carpet analogy is a good one, in my view.

    I promptly went back to chicken-frying my own steaks and finishing with homemade cream gravy, or eating the CFS as sandwiches (buns, lettuce, tomato, and mayo).

    Wade
    "Remember the Alamo? I do, with the very last swallow."
  • Post #4 - April 7th, 2005, 5:29 pm
    Post #4 - April 7th, 2005, 5:29 pm Post #4 - April 7th, 2005, 5:29 pm
    I am not foolish enough to defend the sandwich that Erik ate, but I will step up to apoligize for the idea of the Pan con Milanesa.

    I have bemoaned the generally poor state of breaded steaks at taquerias and torta shops around town: what's the use of steak breaded and fried ages ago such that the crispiness is long gone? The semitas/cemitas at Puebla are the great exception documented here, and I would add Salsa Grill over on Ogden in the 'burbs.

    I will admit that I sneak into Ricobene's in the Loop now and again. But I order my milanesa sammy dry, sauce on the side, if at all. The nice hot giardiniera is a perfect substitute for the insipid marinara that they use to undo the best part of the breaded, deep-fried meat.

    I go at off hours, and the Mexican cook always deep fries to order. I add the salt and some cheap pizza parmaggiano and I'm all set. I might ask for lettuce and tomato next time for kicks.

    The Roadfood folks love the place. I can't see having the big mushy mess Erik had, which is how it is served, and loving it.
  • Post #5 - April 7th, 2005, 6:30 pm
    Post #5 - April 7th, 2005, 6:30 pm Post #5 - April 7th, 2005, 6:30 pm
    Back in the day Ricobenes was a pretty cool hidden away place that, at least in my high school/college years, seemed to have decent late night food. It was also a easy way to impress less-than-urban types by criss crossing through Bridgeport and parking in what appeared to be a mob dumping ground (which, thankfully, still keeps some of it's charm) at midnight.

    I've come a long way in what I like and appreciate now and I also imagine that Ricobenes has changed since it became a chain. Or no? Either way the food is either worse or SEEMS worse than it did say, 15 years ago.
  • Post #6 - April 7th, 2005, 7:15 pm
    Post #6 - April 7th, 2005, 7:15 pm Post #6 - April 7th, 2005, 7:15 pm
    I have to admit that when I was downtown a month or two ago I went to Ricobene's and had the chicken parmigiana version of this.

    Even after breaking the chicken part in half and only eating half of it, I still rolled home in a food coma. It was great.

    As far as pizza goes, Ricobene's is objectively only fair, but compared to other slice pizzas available in the north Loop, it's easily the best and realest slice pizza you can find (at least as of my last period working in that area, a few years back, that is). How's that for a modified, none-too-committal defense?
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  • Post #7 - April 7th, 2005, 7:23 pm
    Post #7 - April 7th, 2005, 7:23 pm Post #7 - April 7th, 2005, 7:23 pm
    JeffB wrote:I am not foolish enough to defend the sandwich that Erik ate, but I will step up to apoligize for the idea of the Pan con Milanesa.


    I'll stick up for Ricobenes. It's not the best breaded steak sammy, but second or third best is not so bad (IMHO).

    I do, however, think the hunting for superferlous is quite an admirable process. Not quite as useful as translating menus, but interesting all the same.

    Rob
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #8 - April 7th, 2005, 7:28 pm
    Post #8 - April 7th, 2005, 7:28 pm Post #8 - April 7th, 2005, 7:28 pm
    Ricobene's has nothing on a sandwich I got at my last visit to Bar Louie (the one on Taylor Street no less-- a long story that involved trying restaurant after restaurant and being turned away because they had a private party, they weren't open for lunch, etc. etc.) a couple of years ago. Imagine a whole fried chicken minus the bones, with a whole can of green olives dumped on it, and an entire wedge of cheese melted onto it, on two entire focaccia, top and bottom. I ate at it for a half an hour and barely made a dent in it, certainly not before it congealed into something disgusting and inedible (not a long journey, I must say).
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
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  • Post #9 - April 8th, 2005, 8:30 am
    Post #9 - April 8th, 2005, 8:30 am Post #9 - April 8th, 2005, 8:30 am
    I'll own up to eating the Ricobene's breaded steak sammich for lunch on occasion. I have them put giardinera on it to spice it up a bit. But not a bad sandwich in my opinion. I also get the fries slathered in pump-action cheese, but don't tell my wife.
  • Post #10 - May 22nd, 2005, 7:20 pm
    Post #10 - May 22nd, 2005, 7:20 pm Post #10 - May 22nd, 2005, 7:20 pm
    Ricobenes has changed since they became a chain....I first started eating them at the hole in the wall on 26th way over 30 years ago. The downtown location is hit or miss, but sometimes I want my childhood tastes and I go nonetheless...
    Last edited by delk on June 6th, 2005, 3:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #11 - June 5th, 2005, 7:49 am
    Post #11 - June 5th, 2005, 7:49 am Post #11 - June 5th, 2005, 7:49 am
    frankly, i never cared for Ricobene's breaded steaks. the best i ever had were at a place called Granata's on washington and canal (or was it erie?). sadly, closed now. i've heard that Freddie's and LaMilanese in Bridgeport do good breaded steaks. any other suggestions?
  • Post #12 - June 8th, 2005, 12:18 pm
    Post #12 - June 8th, 2005, 12:18 pm Post #12 - June 8th, 2005, 12:18 pm
    I also posted this on the italian lemonade thread... the only reason I go to Ricobenes in the loop is the italian ice cart. Great in the summer! They usually have lemon, sometimes watermelon. It's the watery type with lemon rind, which I prefer...
  • Post #13 - June 14th, 2005, 10:12 am
    Post #13 - June 14th, 2005, 10:12 am Post #13 - June 14th, 2005, 10:12 am
    i admit i didn't order what ricobene's is apparently known for... I ordered a chicken veseuvio sandwich. it was pretty bland, greasy, and just overall not exciting.

    my friend ordered chicken parm. she said the exact same thing--bland and greasy.

    maybe i'll go back and try the breaded steak, but after reading this thread i'm not so sure i really need to.
  • Post #14 - June 15th, 2005, 10:15 pm
    Post #14 - June 15th, 2005, 10:15 pm Post #14 - June 15th, 2005, 10:15 pm
    I've always liked the Chicken Vesuvio sandwich (though I'm not sure why they call it that, since it doesn't resemble the standard chicken dish at all, other than having chicken in it), and certainly haven't found it to be bland. However, I've had it only at the 26th Street location; did those of you who didn't like it have it there, or somewhere else?
  • Post #15 - June 21st, 2005, 11:39 pm
    Post #15 - June 21st, 2005, 11:39 pm Post #15 - June 21st, 2005, 11:39 pm
    I used to work across the street and the dude passing out flyers was nice enough. I stopped seeing him last fall or so... in any case I found their pizza crust to be as damp as that limp picture and now when I wimp out for lunch I end up at potbellys...

    ...lunch assemblage
    "Yum"
    -- Everyone

    www.chicagofoodies.com
  • Post #16 - June 23rd, 2005, 1:23 pm
    Post #16 - June 23rd, 2005, 1:23 pm Post #16 - June 23rd, 2005, 1:23 pm
    I tried a Ricobene's breaded steak sandwich when I first moved to Chicago now almost 20 years ago. The sheer excess of it appealed to me but, then as now, it mystified me otherwise and I couldn't/can't believe the chain has survived with that as its signature dish. One of life's mysteries, I guess. It didn't strike me as bad, just unnecessary.
  • Post #17 - April 18th, 2008, 2:17 pm
    Post #17 - April 18th, 2008, 2:17 pm Post #17 - April 18th, 2008, 2:17 pm
    I think you guys are complete nut jobs if you think that the breaded steak sandwich tastes like carpet padding.

    I can only say that I'm speechless that you would put down such an amazing sandwich.
  • Post #18 - April 18th, 2008, 2:19 pm
    Post #18 - April 18th, 2008, 2:19 pm Post #18 - April 18th, 2008, 2:19 pm
    I'd also venture to say that anyone who thinks that Carbon is a better restaurant than Ricobene's is absolutely foolish. Everything is overpriced and the food is like any other Taco Bell (maybe slightly better) that I've ever been.

    I'm convinced that some people just don't know how to use their noses and tongues.
  • Post #19 - April 18th, 2008, 2:46 pm
    Post #19 - April 18th, 2008, 2:46 pm Post #19 - April 18th, 2008, 2:46 pm
    Erik M. wrote:You see, while Mike G's list contains the sheerly superlative, my list instead contains the sheerly superfluous.


    I used to work near Ricobene's and it was so disgusting on the few times I tried it I got wound-up just seeing the place discussed here.

    Greasy and disgusting. Also, their dining room seemed in eternal disarray.
  • Post #20 - April 18th, 2008, 10:21 pm
    Post #20 - April 18th, 2008, 10:21 pm Post #20 - April 18th, 2008, 10:21 pm
    I have to admit, I enjoy the breaded steak sandwich. Do you taste the steak? No, but crusty french bread, sauce, and gardinera still make a tasty sandwich. I'll agree 100% that their food is greasy, the vesuvio sandwich would have been better if they let the grease drip away for a bit before putting the chicken on the bread. I've only been to the Pulaski location and their biggest offense is the unhappy service.
    http://hungryz.com/Ricobenes
    Last edited by HungryZ on April 19th, 2008, 10:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #21 - April 18th, 2008, 11:54 pm
    Post #21 - April 18th, 2008, 11:54 pm Post #21 - April 18th, 2008, 11:54 pm
    h37s3m wrote:I think you guys are complete nut jobs if you think that the breaded steak sandwich tastes like carpet padding.

    I can only say that I'm speechless that you would put down such an amazing sandwich.


    You realize, don't you, that you're calling out people who originally posted years ago, several of whom no longer post here at all? Perhaps instead of attacking the taste of these (mostly long-gone) posters, you could focus on what you find so amazing about this sandwich.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #22 - August 13th, 2008, 1:02 pm
    Post #22 - August 13th, 2008, 1:02 pm Post #22 - August 13th, 2008, 1:02 pm
    fwiw, i've been back a few times since this very old debate started...

    once the breaded steak was really terrible. really terrible. a soggy wet mush.

    another time it was really good. crispy breading, not soggy. very edible meat.

    i have a friend who gets it frequently and he says the difference between a good sandwich and a bad experience can be 4 minutes of waiting not to eat it. it must be eaten hot and right out of the fryer. taking it "to go" is too long, apparently.
  • Post #23 - August 13th, 2008, 1:30 pm
    Post #23 - August 13th, 2008, 1:30 pm Post #23 - August 13th, 2008, 1:30 pm
    I had one these things for lunch a couple of weeks ago from the Wells St. location. I'm sorry, but it was absolutely horrible. I ate in, but the sandwich tasted like it had been made a couple of hours earlier. Never again.

    BTW, calling this thing a breaded "steak" sandwich may be overstating things a bit. More like a breaded "meat product" sandwich.
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #24 - August 13th, 2008, 2:01 pm
    Post #24 - August 13th, 2008, 2:01 pm Post #24 - August 13th, 2008, 2:01 pm
    jesteinf wrote:BTW, calling this thing a breaded "steak" sandwich may be overstating things a bit. More like a breaded "meat product" sandwich.

    Josh,

    Erik called it like eating breaded carpet padding, nail on the head comes to mind.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #25 - August 13th, 2008, 2:07 pm
    Post #25 - August 13th, 2008, 2:07 pm Post #25 - August 13th, 2008, 2:07 pm
    the difference between a good sandwich and a bad experience


    ...is ordering the chicken version.

    Any of these that I ate surely falls under the heading of misspent youth spent trapped eating in the Loop at lunchtime, but the chicken one, at least, is far preferable to the meat-like substance.
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
    Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.
  • Post #26 - August 13th, 2008, 2:16 pm
    Post #26 - August 13th, 2008, 2:16 pm Post #26 - August 13th, 2008, 2:16 pm
    Ricobene's Breaded Steak Sandwich is simply the worst sandwich I have had in Chicago. It reminds me of some of those breaded products you'd get at the high school cafeteria.
  • Post #27 - August 13th, 2008, 2:29 pm
    Post #27 - August 13th, 2008, 2:29 pm Post #27 - August 13th, 2008, 2:29 pm
    G Wiv wrote:
    jesteinf wrote:BTW, calling this thing a breaded "steak" sandwich may be overstating things a bit. More like a breaded "meat product" sandwich.

    Josh,

    Erik called it like eating breaded carpet padding, nail on the head comes to mind.

    Enjoy,
    Gary


    Pretty much!
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #28 - August 13th, 2008, 8:52 pm
    Post #28 - August 13th, 2008, 8:52 pm Post #28 - August 13th, 2008, 8:52 pm
    I have an out of town relative that isnsits on stopping at Ricobene (on 26th) on the way in from the airport. He thinks its right on the way and I humor him. The last time I was there I tried the eggplant parm sanwich which i found to be much more appealing then the steak, which is so tough that it is impossible to eat like an adult.

    I have also found that the 26th st location is far better then the one i tried in the loop (not saying a whole lot but still) Fries, btw not really mentioned upthread, are terrible, limp and soggy.
  • Post #29 - August 13th, 2008, 9:20 pm
    Post #29 - August 13th, 2008, 9:20 pm Post #29 - August 13th, 2008, 9:20 pm
    I have also found that the 26th st location is far better then the one i tried in the loop (not saying a whole lot but still) Fries, btw not really mentioned upthread, are terrible, limp and soggy.


    I agree with this. If you must steak it up, try 26th, and order with sauce, giardiniera, and sweet peppers, and eat with gloves and a wet nap, and you'll be happy. Better yet, stick with the breaded chicken sandwich. Toss the fries to the pigeons under the El.
  • Post #30 - August 14th, 2008, 8:26 am
    Post #30 - August 14th, 2008, 8:26 am Post #30 - August 14th, 2008, 8:26 am
    iblock9 wrote:I have also found that the 26th st location is far better then the one i tried in the loop


    ..i should've added that as well. i've never been to the "other" location in the loop, only the one that closed down on lake st. and the one on 26th. the one that closed down was terrrrible though, not even worth writing about.

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