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#1
Posted July 20th 2004, 1:58pm
The topic of a Chicago steakhouse "like Peter Luger" came up in the other board recently, drawing interesting advice including the Cheesecake Factory. I noted the only real option, I think, when one is discussing really old-scool steakhouses here: Gene & Georgetti. I've said enough about the place in the past; I like the steak and the vibe, and think that anyone armed with a little advice on What Not to Order can do ok there.

Turns out, my dear wife was recently confronted by a Brooklynite Luger lover (and imprortant client), currently residing in Atlanta, who requsted a place "like Peter Luger." A "fake" place, made to look vaguely old, like Bruce Wayne's mansion or a safari club, was out of the question. She took him, and my advice to G&G.

This guy, who gets around and knows Luger real well was much pleased with the whole experience. They had what you should have: garbage salad, and shrimp de Jonghe followed by bloody steaks and Vesuvio potatoes. I was treated to a healthy doggy bag portion of strip, which was very, very good.

Here is what the client confirmed: G&G is run down, unless you compare it to Luger, in which case, it is downright trendy; G&G is expensive for what it is, unless you compare it to Luger, which is really pricey; G&G has a limited and dated menu, unless you compare it to Luger, which has like one item; and, most remarkably, G&G has a travesty for a wine list, what without even the vintages listed, unless you compare it to Luger, where the choice of wine is, quite literally, red or white.

Oh, and G&G is in a "nowhere" neighborhood (not really even true anymore); again, it has nothing on Luger there.

These places are what they are. I think sui generis is the term. Mind you, I'm not always thrilled to go there and spend my hard-earned money. But I can't think of a better place to spend someone else's.
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#2
Posted July 20th 2004, 3:39pm
JeffB wrote:G&G is expensive for what it is, unless you compare it to Luger, which is really pricey; G&G has a limited and dated menu, unless you compare it to Luger, which has like one item; and, most remarkably, G&G has a travesty for a wine list, what without even the vintages listed, unless you compare it to Luger, where the choice of wine is, quite literally, red or white.


How much is that really true? First, are either Lugar or G&G more money than other high end steak houses? As far as I can tell, they are not. In other words, is the price of a porterhouse (or similiar) more money at G&G/Lugar than say Smith and Wollensky, Gibson's, Sparks or things like the BLT Steak or Jean-George's new steakhouse?

Second, what about the value? I have never been to Lugar (but dream, one can dream). The reviews, nearly always, state it is the best hunk of meat anywhere. The best of the best of the best. Therefore, even if Lugar was more pricey, you are paying for the privilege of eating the best. Yet, with G&G is it worth the money? Is the steak on par with other top-tier steakhouses let alone the best of the best? Or in other words, the steak at El Llano can be pretty good too.

Rob
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#3
Posted July 20th 2004, 4:20pm
Rob, I assume you are asking how much truth is there in G&G and Luger being especially expensive and, also, whether it's fair to compare the places as being meaningfully similar when Luger's steak is universally heralded, while G&G's is not.

I do think that G&G's prices, especially the sides, are a bit more than other top steakhouses around town. The steaks (which do not have weight noted) are particularly large, however. I think the bone-in strip is 20 or 22 oz., for example, and costs $35. One can cut costs there by going with the freebie potatoes (and salad? I'm not sure they still offer the sad little free salad now, since I always get te garbage). The sides are steep. The garbage salad is 20 bucks. But this is all generally in the same high plane as the spots you mention, I agree. I think that the many critics of G&G would rather pay these prices at a more polished place with frendlier service, however.

What about Luger's steak? Is it simply so much better than any other that even demanding gourmands used to places like Les Nomades are willing to go there for a hunk of meat? Hard for me to say. I do think that Luger benefits from the NYC badge of honor that New Yorkers award themselves for eating at famous but hard-to-get-to, dumpy, or abusive places, so long as the food is supposed to be good. Chicagoans, present readers excluded, seem to have a hard time with that. Maybe like Mayor Daley, we are a little ashamed of our gritty past, and would rather have a jamba juice standing where Jim's used to be on Maxwell. Then there's the coastal Gourmet/Food & Wine factor. If you plopped G&G into Queens, would not the glossies and the NYTimes call it a loveable, gruff old monument to manly eating?

And how do G&G's steaks stand up? Not dry aged, but they no doubt have access to some pretty good stuff, considering that most prime beef still has to pass through Chicago (Allen Bros., Stockyards, et al.), and no one has been placing orders for prime longer than G&G. I've never been disappointed in the meat, which is really what it's all about.

Lots of detractors seem to say, the meat was fine, but I hated XYand Z about the place. And, how much meat can you eat. Things like that. Well, I have to think that these folks wouldn't really enjoy a dump like Luger, either.

FWIW, the Sterns seem to love G&G. It might be the most expensive Road Food on their site. I don't always agree with them, but they know their audience, and its not folks deciding between Roy's and G&G, its people looking for "real" places to seek out, on the road.

PS, I'd put Sparks in this group, along with the first Bob's in Dallas. Murray's in Minneapolis and Bern's in Tampa are close cousins. They are "fancy" instead of gruff and rough around the edges, but they are faded fancy.
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#4
Posted July 22nd 2004, 5:55pm
It's been a few years since I've been to G&G, but it has never let me down. But I'm not a fancy guy. Give it to me plain and give it to me good. I'm the kind of guy that prefers Ron of Japan over Benihanas. I'm not there for the show, just feed me.

And I'm a meat and potatos kind of guy. I always got a kick out of the regular salad. It's basically a quarter head of lettuce and some dressing. I'm sure you can find better steaks somewhere for some price, but I've never had one better. And more importantly, I've never had a bad steak there.

Of course people complain about the service. It's fine by me. I know some people like to be hovered over by the wait staff, but not me. Just give me my food and leave me alone.

G&G might not represent the kind of Chicago some people want to project. But it does represent the Chicago of 50 years ago. There's enough yuppified hip places around, G&G remains a shrine to what Chicago has always really been about.
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#5
Posted July 30th 2005, 3:45pm
Kinda late notice but can anyone recommend anything else at G&G? I'm dining there this evening with some friends. So far we've got the garbage salad, shrimp de jonghe, vesuvio potatoes and the possibility of some attitude from the servers. This is likely sufficient info to tide me over but if someone else can chime in I'd be grateful.

Can I safely assume that the barstaff can make any old school cocktail in an old school manner? I can't imagine a steak joint that can't mix a decent Martini, Manhattan, or Old Fashioned but who knows. Is there a particular drink or drinks that G&G is known for?

How about the desserts at G&G?

Thanks.

Kurt
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#6
Posted July 30th 2005, 3:52pm
kvltrede wrote:Kinda late notice but can anyone recommend anything else at G&G?



Uhhhh....Steak
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#7
Posted July 30th 2005, 3:59pm
Get a martini.

Then skip the garbage salad and order their regular dinner salad with creamy blue cheese dressing (not the dry crumbled). It's a house made dressing--you'll never have better.

Order a second martini.

Eat the bread sticks and butter.

Order a strip steak charred medium rare. Or the lamb chops medium well, butterflied.

Munch on the cottage fries that come with.

Forget dessert.

End of story.
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#8
Posted July 30th 2005, 4:13pm
Olde School and I are pretty much on the same page.

Get a Dirty Martini
Drink
Order another Dirty Martini

Bone-in rib-eye, med-rare, garlic and cracked peppercorns.
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Munch on Cottage fries.
The cottage fries in the pic are not crisp enough. Ask for crisp.
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I also like the Chicken Vesuvio, which is a different style than most. Cut in smaller pieces and quite crisp.
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Enjoy,
Gary
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#9
Posted July 30th 2005, 4:21pm
stevez wrote:
kvltrede wrote:Kinda late notice but can anyone recommend anything else at G&G?

Uhhhh....Steak

Shoulda mentioned that's a given but as I haven't found any criticism of the quality of the beef I didn't think to mention it. Difficulty in getting the beef cooked properly, on the other hand, seems to have been an issue for some but I figured I'd pick a cut and hope for the best. Though now that I've read Olde School's recommendation of the lamb chops I'm thinking that sounds like a strong possiblity....

I'm sure I'll check back in before I head out the door but I thank you both for posting.

Kurt
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#10
Posted July 30th 2005, 6:16pm
Can you bring me a doggie bag :lol:
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#11
Posted August 11th 2005, 6:12pm
Had a nice time at G&G. Thanks for the suggestions.

I had two exceptional Bombay Martinis (reg. not Sapphire). We all enjoyed the Shrimp de Jonghe, baked clams and Vesuvio potatoes very much. Wish I'd caught the recommendation to order the cottage fries well done but they were okay if kinda mushy in spots. The side salad was a side salad. I didn't find the dressing to be anything special but now, almost two weeks later, I'm not sure it was the bleu cheese as recommended above. If it wasn't the bleu cheese it's because they didn't have it. I'm pretty sure I had made note of that. If it was the bleu cheese it was unremarkable.

My NY strip was a fine piece of meat but I prefer a little less charring on the outside. Seared is good. Marked is good. This was blackened but not in a good way. Didn't ruin the steak though 'cos it wasn't heavy charring and it was damn nice on the inside. I imagine this is simply the house style.

I also sampled the lamb chops as recommended above. Very, very nice. If I find myself there again I'll probably order those.

Service was very good though two of our party were disappointed that the prime rib was gone at 8:30 on a Saturday night. Our waiter steered me to a nice glass of red wine that was a fine compliment to my steak.

Overall a fine time was had by all and I think we'd all go back. That said, I don't think any of us were so knocked out that we'll be rushing back. While the prices are hardly excessive for this type of place I think we'd all just as soon give someplace else a shot if we're gonna spend this kinda dough on a meal.

Thanks again.

Kurt
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#12
Posted August 12th 2005, 7:50am
Last time my wife and I had dinner at G&G, we ordered the Vesuvio, a strip steak and a couple of side dishes. Although we totally stuffed ourselves, the leftovers still provided us another dinner and me another lunch. So, amortized over 5 servings, it really was quite reasonable.
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#13
Posted August 12th 2005, 8:48am
kvltrede wrote:My NY strip was a fine piece of meat but I prefer a little less charring on the outside. Seared is good. Marked is good. This was blackened but not in a good way. Didn't ruin the steak though 'cos it wasn't heavy charring and it was damn nice on the inside. I imagine this is simply the house style.


Yes, they've always served it that way. And it's making me hungry just reading and remembering.
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#14
Posted August 12th 2005, 9:07am
See, the super-charring is often the point of disagreement about G&G. My problem with most other steak places is that they cannot achieve the gaudy charring that is de rigueur at G&G. Most places really can't even come close upon request, either overcooking the meat to get a char or leaving the outside a sad grey mess to preserve the rare doneness I asked for. Like certain places that sell flat breads cooked at high temps, G&G has both the equipment and the skill to do something that you and I can't do at home and most chefs can't do at work.

Others figure G&G burned their beefsteak. But if you want black and blue/Pittsburgh etc., G&G pleases.
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#15
Posted September 30th 2005, 3:09pm
I'm a late comer to G&G, but a devotee all the same. The Condiment Queen has been having her once a month craving/need for red meat iron (if you catch my drift), and I've been talking up G&G's liver. We had it today.

Garbage salad split for two, liver with onions and bacon--I'll return to this in a moment and the chicken vesuvio. This was the lunch to wash out the poor taste of last week's Wine Week thing-ee. Outstanding service with enough attention to make you feel like a big shot in a room of big shots, but not the least bit of pressure. The garbage salad just about filled us up, about the best I've had of this kinda thing even if the ingredients were all mundane (even canned olives!). It was a shame that we did not have more room for the main courses.

The liver is thick and pink and not the least bit gamey. It is liver hating to liver lovin' liver. Yet, a liver hater could practically order the dish and just ignore the liver as one could make a great meal on the ultra-thick bacon and burnt onions. Perhaps we should have a burnt-onion off between G&G and M&P, but neither would be far from perfect. As I've noted before (I think), G&G's is my favorite Vesuvio, one more in the school of Antonious's pollo con patate than a classic Chicago winey V. I like it that way though.

Nearly all of the lunch menu, including steaks is under $20. We salvitated every time an osso buco special passed us by. We are ready to work our way towards regulardom.
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#16
Posted September 30th 2005, 3:55pm
Back in the mid-eighties, I was taking finger style jazz guitar lessons from a Berklee grad that lived around the corner from G&G. Twice a week I would descend the stairs from the Ravenswood to one of the most mouth watering aromas I have ever smelled.

Of course, at the time, I couldn't afford to eat there, but that smell was enough, and I'll always think highly of G&G because of it... :D
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#17
Posted September 30th 2005, 4:46pm
The liver is thick and pink and not the least bit gamey.


Oh, yeah, baby. Da liver at G&G, mm-mm-mm. Not long before my departure from Chicago, 'twas April, I believe, my older brother came to Chicago for a visit, and he and I went to an LTH-sanctioned lunch at G&G (GWiv, JeffB, Trixie-Pea, Pigmon, Bruce, other luminaries present). Here's a guy who's been eating liver and onions since he's 5 - at first he did it just to gross out other kids. He then found out that he really likes it, and I've seen him order it in diners, steakhouses, and... well, that's about it for places you can get liver and onions. He had a smile plastered on his face for the rest of the day after lunch, deeming G&G's organ to be "top 2 or 3." Hardly faint praise from a fegatoscento like him. My taste of the liver and onions proved his opinion (and yours, VI) out - smooth, no sinew, mellow meaty taste, and great, fat burnt onion and crisp bacon. A cardiologist's wet dream.

It is liver hating to liver lovin' liver.


Uhh, my thoughts exactly. WTF?

...than a classic Chicago winey V.


VI, should you decide on a career in hip-hop, I believe we've just found your stage moniker. "Winey V in da hizzouse!!!!!"

--Hizzungryrizzabbi
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#18
Posted September 30th 2005, 9:11pm
hungryrabbi wrote: My taste of the liver and onions proved his opinion

HungryRabbi,

I had a taste of your brother's liver and onions as well, was truly delicious. If I hadn't already been a fan, it would have converted me on the spot.

G & G Liver and Onions
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Enjoy,
Gary
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#19
Posted October 1st 2005, 1:15pm
G Wiv wrote:
hungryrabbi wrote: My taste of the liver and onions proved his opinion

HungryRabbi,

I had a taste of your brother's liver


Feeling a bit cannabalistic, are we, these days?
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#20
Posted October 1st 2005, 2:40pm
nr706 wrote:
G Wiv wrote:
hungryrabbi wrote: My taste of the liver and onions proved his opinion

HungryRabbi,

I had a taste of your brother's liver


Feeling a bit cannabalistic, are we, these days?


You beat me to it, my man... my first reaction when I read this was: "Gee, Gary, did you have some fava beans and a nice Chianti with it, too?"

Reb
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#21
Posted June 9th 2007, 2:23pm
Did anyone else notice the Gene & Georgetti's reference in the latest issue of Sauveur (the Steak issue)? It is the only Chicago joint included in their list of "Our 7 Favorite Steak Houses."

Saveur wrote:This 40-year-old, burnished-wood artifact still exudes an unmistakably masculine vibe. The restaurant attracts both tourists and Chicagoland burghers, who look as built into the place as are the bricks and mortar. Everyone gets the same superb steaks and chops, though.


I thought it dated back further than that, like to the early 1940s, at least. But I do like the quote from Chef Mario Navarro.

Mario Navarro wrote:I hear there's a place in New York called Peter Luger that people say is as good as we are, or pretty close. I have to try it someday.
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#22
Posted June 9th 2007, 7:58pm
nr706 wrote:
I thought it dated back further than that, like to the early 1940s, at least. But I do like the quote from Chef Mario Navarro.

Mario Navarro wrote:I hear there's a place in New York called Peter Luger that people say is as good as we are, or pretty close. I have to try it someday.


Gene's has seriously gone downhill over the last year. Even the most ardent fans that I know no longer go there. A number of the staff have fled to Erie Cafe, which is a spin-off from Gene's. When Gene died, one family member got Gene's, one was backed to open Erie and the Grandson opened EJ's in the burbs. The quote from the chef is so ignorant, but what do you expect him to say. The quality of the meat at Lugars is so far above what is now served at Gene's!
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#23
Posted June 9th 2007, 8:53pm
I'm not sure how to say this "nicely", so I'll just say it... G&G has sucked for years. I've probably been there a half dozen times, as for some reason I was taken there repeatedly for business. The steak is good... but basically nothing else is at all. Service, vibe, wine, sides... bleh.

I know others will differ, and I won't say they're wrong--I just don't get what anyone ever saw in this place, unless the food used to be a lot better.
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#24
Posted August 28th 2009, 4:37am
Wow, it sure is something going back over these old posts and reading what people like JeffB, Hungryrabbi (rest in peace) and others had to say about this place in what seems like a long time ago.

Three old buddies and I are going to G&G tonight. I was there once before (probably circa 2004, as I recall with Vital Information), and I remember enjoying myself, but have only a dim recollection of the meal (this was in Chowhound days, before one could easily post pix online, so I didn't shoot any, so I'm having trouble remembering).

I would tend to go with suggestions of GWiv and others regarding martini and crisp cottage fries, and I'll probably get a steak (not liver and onions, which I like but probably not for dinner) -- not sure what kind. At the risk of garnering a disapproving glance from servers, I will probably have a salad after dinner (after lots of meat, it just feels right).

Having been to Lugar's since my first visit to G&G, I will be mentally making comparisons, and I think there are some very valid comparisons (as opposed to contrasts) made in the early posts of this thread.

Any way, I'd be interested in any intel updates.
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#25
Posted August 28th 2009, 5:49am
Well, I'd be curious with your meal. I've talked with another poster about getting a lunch going here, but we have not moved on it, so it's been a few years since my last visit. Maybe this will be the start of a new GNR campaign...

Given the few year warning, I would suggest you not be cute with the salad and order the garbage salad as an appetizer. It was at least, outstanding.
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#26
Posted August 28th 2009, 6:38am
I think G&G's may offer the best version of the wet aged, heavily charred, steak in Chicago (a battle with Keefer's in my opinion). So the one thing I would make sure I ordered at G&G's is a nicely marbled cut of beef.
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#27
Posted August 28th 2009, 6:45am
Hammond,

G and G never changes, neither does my order.

Dirty Martini at the bar
Drink
Order another Dirty Martini

Bone-in rib-eye, charred med-rare, garlic and cracked peppercorns.
Cottage fries, crisp

Do Not sit upstairs, do tip/grease/duke $20 to whoever seems in charge to sit in the first room. Second room (first floor, not visible from the bar) is ok, barely, do not sit upstairs.

Old School is still cool.

Enjoy,
Gary
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#28
Posted August 28th 2009, 7:40am
Vital Information wrote:Given the few year warning, I would suggest you not be cute with the salad and order the garbage salad as an appetizer. It was at least, outstanding.

I have a hard time not being cute in every way with everything I do, say or eat. I just can't help myself.

BR wrote:I think G&G's may offer the best version of the wet aged, heavily charred, steak in Chicago (a battle with Keefer's in my opinion). So the one thing I would make sure I ordered at G&G's is a nicely marbled cut of beef.

I'm definitely going with the beef. As I look forward to dinner, it's between the rib eye and strip, though I'm open to suggestion.

G Wiv wrote:
Dirty Martini at the bar

Do Not sit upstairs, do tip/grease/duke $20 to whoever seems in charge to sit in the first room. Second room (first floor, not visible from the bar) is ok, barely, do not sit upstairs.


Ah, thanks for clarifying (or reminding) that the first Dirty Martini(s) should be at the bar.

Last time we were there, we sat in the basement with all the (as I recall) time-faded, greenish Venetian (I think) scenery on the walls. I'm guessing the upstairs is less desirable because its tight and noisy? After two martinis, I'm sure I'd be described in pretty much the same terms, so this may not be a bad fit.
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#29
Posted August 28th 2009, 7:47am
David Hammond wrote:Last time we were there, we sat in the basement

Nix on the basement, first floor, preferably the room adjoining the bar.
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#30
Posted August 28th 2009, 8:48am
G Wiv wrote:
David Hammond wrote:Last time we were there, we sat in the basement

Nix on the basement, first floor, preferably the room adjoining the bar.


Ah, I see what you mean. By "upstairs" I thought you meant first floor (I didn't know they had a second floor).

I've never duked a host for seats, and pretty much all I know about that practice I learned from an episode of "Curb Your Enthusiasm," but I may give it a shot. When I went to Lugar's, the Brooklynite who took us to dinner bumped the guy something like $40, so adjusting for Big Apple/Big Potato variation, $20 sounds about right.
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