|Great food in the western 'burbs.|
Previously I've written about Joe's, Keefer's, and Gibsons (this is the soundtrack in my head when I say the word "Gibsons"). Amy and I have gotten to go out with no kids once a month so far this year, and have enjoyed some great restaurants here in the fine city of Chicago.
Don't forget to click on links embedded in this story. They are part of the writing. Plus, some of them are funny. Kinda. See? That last link is someone who's kinda funny. All the photos except the ones I say aren't mine - are mine.
|I'll never understand what sleeping pigs|
have to do with a steakhouse. Oh wait. Read how
much I ate, then maybe it makes sense.
Some background information. I've been to Morton's more than any place else on this list. Amy and I have dined there on our anniversary the past 3 years, and for my birthday as well. I've been accepted as a VIP by the establishment there for some reason, and I consider it my "home base" when it comes to finer dining. A few members of the wait staff recognize us, and we are always treated like we're special. We love the place.
Saturday night was my birthday. As a VIP, I received a very generous gift certificate in the mail about a week ago. We had already decided on Morton's, but the extra C-note they threw my way didn't make me feel bad at all. Not one bit.
|I had to crop this to remove the super secret phone|
number. It's far too dangerous to be in just
I'm getting off track. I called the special phone number on my card and made my reservation. After a bit, I asked if I needed to mention my VIP status. The woman replied, "If your name hadn't come up in my database when you gave it to me, I would have asked how you got this number." Nice. I mentioned that it was my birthday, and she assured me we would have a great evening. One of the things that I really enjoy about Morton's is the phone call you get the day before - reminding you of your impending reservation. It's like a taste bud wake up call. I was in a meeting on Friday when mine came, and I was instantly perked up thinking about gnawing on some prime steak the following evening.
|The menu. Custom printed just for me. And you. |
If you follow the procedure...
OK. I think that clears up the stories. Nuts and bolts time.
Morton's in Naperville is in a relatively new development right off the Naperville Road exit from I-88. It shares a parking lot with Maggiano's, The White Chocolate Grill, a Taco Fresco place and a few other retail locations. It's suburban. Very suburban. The building is a brick facade with burgundy awnings over every window. There is a small outdoor area off the entrance, accessible through the bar, but on March 5, yeah, not so many people out there. A valet greets you at the door, opens it for you, and you are in a small entry vestibule. There are magazine covers, etc., hung on the walls, all praising Morton's. They're letting you know when you walk in that they kick ass. Nothing wrong with that. As you pass through the second door, you encounter the Maitre d' station on your right and the bar on your left. Amy and I have waited in the bar on one occasion, and it was pleasant. They've got sports on, the staff is attentive, and it's a quiet little steakhouse bar.
|The glass in the bar. Lit by magic.|
The room is ringed with curved booths (you know the kind where you both wind up sitting next to each other) of white leather. There are about 30 other tables spread throughout the middle, and 3 private rooms off to the side. There is an ENORMOUS wine rack between the dining room and the bar, and there are wine bottles used as decorative devices throughout. Cherry trim, alabaster lights. You know. A steakhouse. There is one wall with photos of famous patrons, and you can see into the kitchen. It's a typical fine dining kind of place. Homey, yet elegant.
We were greeted quickly by our server Matt, who asked if I needed to see the wine list. When I informed him of my choice not to consume alcohol, he gave no sigh, no grunt, but smiled and said, "No problem. What would you care for instead?" Our bus boy cleared the two place settings that were no longer needed, filled our water glasses with, as Matt put it, "Naperville Tap," then brought out the first item in what would prove to be too many pieces of food for the author. The bread.
|Simpsons Reference: I needed Marge to tell me|
not to fill up on bread.
|I didn't take this photo. This is the meat tray.|
|Yummy yummy soupy goodness.|
The first item to arrive was my soup. Baked with a generous helping of swiss cheese over the top of the crock, along with a large wedge of bread inside, it is full of onions and oniony goodness. It is a very tasty starter, the onions almost being liquid by the time they hit your mouth. I've eaten it frequently at Morton's, and I can say it is among the best onion soups I've ever eaten.
I polished that off as quickly as I could, then watched as our salads arrived. Woohoo! MORE FOOD! The lettuce was crisp, the thousand island dressing was very well made; again, like Gibsons, it was not as good as Keefer's, but it was tasty. There was egg and also some bacon on the salad. It really cleansed my palate after the soup, and got me ready for the main course. Morton's dishes are all first class. From the soup right on down, you can taste the quality of every ingredient. And as Handjob would say, "At these prices, what do you expect?"
Matt was very attentive as we ate our meal, refilling my Diet Coke frequently (filling more of my stomach), and getting plates out of our way, making sure everything tasted right, etc. The wait staff at Morton's is top notch, and Matt was a reminder of just how good they are.
|Not a picture of our steak. Didn't want to take a photo while it was being|
carved. Fred Flintstone not pictured.
It is here that the evening hit a snag. As we were perusing our menus, I had asked Amy several times if she was sure she wanted the double porterhouse. Basically, I was trying to say I had changed my mind, but I didn't come out and say it. I wanted to do this for you. Pure and simple. I regret that decision. The problem with the big ass steak is that it doesn't really cook right close to the bone. To get a medim rare on the rest of the steak, it needs to be removed from the broiler before the stuff furthest from the heat gets a chance to cook. Therefore, what you get is a small section of beef that is so rare that it borders on raw. It's tasty, but it's a little off putting. Amy's portion of the strip also had a fairly large tendon in it, so that was a bummer as well. The steak was cooked correctly where it was cooked, but the exterior was missing that char that I love so much. My strip side was a strip steak. I was reminded why I switched to ribeye. Strip, while described as flavorful, just isn't. The filet side was delicious. Silky, soft, buttery, what have you. It was a filet. I'd eat filet exclusively if I thought it would fill me up, but it doesn't, so I don't. Amy enjoyed her filet as well. Again, the undercooked portions that were near the bone were off putting. Kids, if you're going to Morton's - don't get the double porterhouse. I've done it. Many times. I've also done the bone in ribeye. Do that. You'll be happier. I promise.
|It's a chocolate cake with a molten center. It's called|
Molten Chocolate Cake. Go figure.
|Amy's dessert. I think she ate one or two more|
bites and had enough.
That was too much. By the end of my cake, my wife looked at me and asked me if I noticed that I was clutching the table with my right hand as I tried to finish off my cake. I hadn't. But I was. I was full. I mean FULL. There was no more room for anything. I had to stop drinking coffee, because it just wouldn't fit. It was then that I contemplated the barfing all over the table thing. Like I said, I didn't. I was VERY uncomfortable though. VERY.
I'll sum up: I had a loaf of bread, 4 or 5 Diet Cokes (watching my calories, apparently), a crock of soup covered in cheese, a quarter head of lettuce slathered in dressing, a half a potato the size of a baby's head, over a pound of steak, chocolate cake and a cup of coffee. Gluttony. Deadly sin. GUILTY!!!!!
Wait staff is great. Friendly, personable, and prompt. I love Morton's people.
Ambience is beautiful. Noisy, but not loud. People are there to enjoy themselves, and they do.
It's pricey. Without the hundred dollar discount, we would have spent over two bills on our meal. Dollar for dollar, I'll take Gibsons for that kinda dough. I've loved the 40's style way I've referred to cash in this post. Greenbacks.
Don't do the double porterhouse. It's tempting. Don't do it. Get an individual steak. You'll be happier.
Tums. You will eat too much. You will have no choice.
Well, that's it. No angels this time. Morton's is a prime steakhouse serving prime steaks that makes a special occasion extra special. We go there frequently, and will continue to as we get older. We had a very nice night out for my birthday. Can't think of anyone I'd rather spend it with than my beautiful wife.
|All you "Tommy Boys" - sing it: Fat guy with a little wife. Fat guy with a little wife.|