Looking for the best Chicago date night restaurant? After trying the spring menu at STK, I know where I want to head. A huge thank you to STK Chicago for the complimentary meal. All opinions remain my own.
I love steak, and I know I’m not alone. While I love a good old fashioned steakhouse, the vibe at STK Chicago is all me.
While I’ve shared the best romantic restaurants in the Chicago suburbs before, I never really talked much about the best Chicago date night restaurant – or restaurants. STK Chicago definitely falls on this list for me.
What is the ambiance like at STK Chicago?
Their motto is “not your daddy’s steakhouse,” and I get why. We loved the music throughout the entire dinner, and on the way out, I realized they have a live DJ mixing. No wonder the music is so good!
Outside the trendy vibe, you actually get a good meal, too. And though there is a DJ and music, it’s easy to have a conversation with those at your comfy booth. The last thing I want is to have to shout for two hours.
And speaking of booths, you sit in super comfy booths that encourage snuggling for those who choose to. At the same time, most groups dining while we ate were families enjoying time together.
How is the food at STK Chicago?
We enjoyed the chef’s spring tasting menu. And boy did we ever enjoy it. Just an example….
STK Chicago appetizers
When the server brought the Oysters Rockefeller, my friend told me she wasn’t a fan of oysters, so I could eat them all. Six oysters served with leeks and spinach, plus foie gras and topped with black truffles? That’s way too decadent for me to eat alone.
I convinced her to try just one, and she proceeded to eat her share after that. These aren’t the cheesy, greasy Oysters Rockefeller I’ve had in the past. They’re perfectly prepared and loosened from the shell. While they’re rich, they have so many flavors that nothing becomes overwhelming.
The only downside? There’s just no way to take a pretty photograph of them. Trust me, I tried.
The rest of our meal continued in the same vein.
The seared scallops also came out perfectly cooked, fork tender and incredibly flavorful with a fantastic sear. The charred fava ramps complemented them perfectly, and the now omnipresent fava beans rounded out a delicious appetizer.
We both loved the shaved Brussels sprouts salad. I make a shaved Brussels sprouts salad at home, but this one had way more going on. The crispiness of some of the fried leaves added a great crunch, as did the Marcona almonds. Aged goat cheese and dried cranberries added the perfect touch. This was a great size to share, and two of us could not finish it off – much as we tried.
STK Chicago main courses
Though STK is known throughout its ten locations for their steak, we ironically did not have steak on the tasting menu. My friend went for the Colorado rack of lamb, and I enjoyed the truffled spring pea risotto.
Although I tend to not be a huge lamb fan, I’ve found that’s generally not the case when I visit establishments that really know how to cook lamb properly.
This huge portion was cooked exactly as ordered, and each rack included plenty of meat. The green garlic pesto wasn’t as strong as I had anticipated, but it was a great sop for bites of the lamb. You won’t find charred leeks at many traditional steakhouses, which goes to show the creativity on the menu, and I found they cut some of the richness of the meat.
That said, my friend still finished only half her lamb. No matter what you order, prepare for a lot of food.
I didn’t think the truffled spring pea risotto was quite as successful. When it arrived, it had a slight crust on it, as it had clearly sat under heat lamps in the kitchen before it came out. A quick stir reincorporated everything, however.
I ordered mine without the mushrooms, which may have accounted for its lack of oomph, but it was… just risotto. It was good, but it wasn’t outstanding.
I would have preferred it as a side dish to share instead. That said, like any good risotto, I found it incredibly rich. You receive a nice size portion, and I could eat less than half of what I received.
And ohhhhh the sides. You can’t be a steakhouse in Chicago and not have quality sides.
The broccoli may have been the best broccoli I’ve ever eaten, and I love broccoli. It comes topped with foie gras flakes, and they add umami to a dish that generally lacks it. That we scarfed down happily.
Honestly, I could devote an entire post to this broccoli. I could write odes and sonnets to it. It was that good.
My favorite side dish is well prepared Brussels sprouts, and this cast iron dish of bacon roasted Brussels sprouts was right up my alley. The leaves were alternately crispy and crunchy, and the thick hunks of bacon in the maple glaze provided the sweet and smoky counterpoint we both loved.
Have you noted that nothing on the menu comes overly perfumed in garlic? That’s critical when you’re looking for the best Chicago date night restaurant, amiright?
OMG don’t forget about dessert
STK has the most fun with their desserts. In fact, we watched several tables order and enjoy the most unique looking desserts I’ve seen in awhile. They come with a fantastic presentation, which only makes them taste better.
First up was the STK chocolate cake. This huge piece is designed for sharing, and the chocolate crack under the scoop of ice cream was a fun (and yummy) touch. It continued the chocolate them, along with the drizzle of chocolate over everything, without being as sweet at the other parts.
But the crowning achievement was #Thecloud.
Hands down, you must order this when you visit STK Chicago. I don’t even like cotton candy, and I couldn’t get enough of this dessert.
It arrives with a giant puff of pink cotton candy as the only visible item on the plate. When your server pours Grand Marnier over the top and lights it on fire, it melts to reveal the secrets hidden inside.
You’ll find angel food cake, a white chocolate cremeux, and strawberry ice cream. The strawberry cotton candy melts into little pieces of hard candy that drizzles over the desserts, and they set everything off perfectly.
As full as we were, we couldn’t help but to keep taking “just one more bite” of STK’s signature #Thecloud dessert – and yes, it comes with the hashtag, so make sure you use it when you share on social.
What’s your take on the best Chicago date night restaurant?