Thursday, June 9, 2011

Hugo's Frog Bar, Chicago

No visit to New Jersey is complete without a daytrip to Chicago, that's what I always say. So Thursday saw us up at the crack of dawn, suffering through three hours of mechanical, technical and weather delays plus in-flight turbulence that had more than one fellow flier screaming in terror. Once the day's business was complete, it was dinner time.

Chicago means two things to new tourists - pizza or steak. I have no particular view any more on pizza places, but I maintain a fondness for Gibson's even after many years absence. More precisely, I maintain a fondness for the Frog Bar, the casual side of Gibson's. Same menu, same prices, and I'm not sure if I've ever been to the formal side.
May I say again, restaurants of America, take your tight bookings and shove them where the sun don't shine? There is no reason in the world for me to wait 20 minutes in your heaving foyer for my pre-booked table. Bite me.

Just when we were seriously eyeing each other and threatening to decamp for a pizza, they seated us in the oddly nautical-themed dining room. I'd like to say our server's name was Lisa, but only because she was extremely perky and it seems fitting.

I almost forgave all the effrontery of the wait with these shrimp. Big, tasty, and lots of cocktail sauce. Just the way we like 'em. I definitely think some surf is in order before you dive into (onto) the turf,

which I chose to do with the small strip steak (small is 13 ounces. Someone had the small filet, which is 10. I believe the signature cut of whatever is 22. That's meat.). This is perhaps just the wrong side of done for me; that darker-red portion in the center would be gone in my perfect world. This steak is also too big, despite its smallness on the menu, to be eaten before it gets cold. Other than that, boy oh boy is the meat good and the cooking excellent. I think they've done this before. I still recommend the Frog Bar.

I also recommend some vegetables in your diet. Someone was mildly disconcerted to learn that the steaks are served with...a plate, and nothing else. We rounded out the menu with broccoli and mushrooms. These are half-portions. That's a whole head of broccoli. Both of them were cooked very nicely, but the's just off-putting. You couldn't get halfway through before they're cold.

Still, if you're here for anything other than meat, and you're not doing it on someone else's dollar (like me, sad face), then you're not getting the right experience. And it is an experience, and I still say it's the one to have. I also now see that I misspoke above - there's a lot of seafood, and it looks good. OK, you don't have to get steak.

You have my permission.


  1. That looks really good.

    Frog Bar even has a branch in Naperville, where you can get to it.