I just left the set of Mad Men.
OK: Obviously I wasn't there, mostly because the show ended a couple years ago. However, Lawry's The Prime Rib ( 100 E. Ontario St.; LawrysOnline.com ) is straight of out that era, putting it in an exclusive group of Chicago restaurants that are considered classics and that have remained largely unchanged over decades.
Located just off The Magnificent Mile, Lawry's has been open in Chicago since 1974 ( based on the Beverly Hills restaurant that launched in 1938 ). the very attentive servers ( who are almost always women ) wear spiffy brown uniforms and are called Mrs. So-and-So. Most of the extremely friendly staff has been there for decades ( again, distinguishing it from the newer spots ), save for a few, such as new Executive Chef Steve Goellner.
There's even a plaque stating the restaurant's code of ethics that's on the left upon entering the establishment.
I mentioned all of these frozen-in-time elements to emphasize what the people at Lawry's already know: Being "old-fashioned" can be a wonderful thing.
As for the cuisine, it will also take you backagain, in a very fulfilling way. The calamari ( with chipotle aioli and arrabbiata sauce ) is very tasty, and the spinning-bowl salad ( prepared tableside ) is a must.
However, as the restaurant's name indicates, it specializes in the steak cut known as prime riband it does it remarkably well ( perfectly served by the master carver who hasyou guessed itbeen there practically from the beginning ). Selections include the Diamond Jim Brady cut ( an extra-thick portion that includes the rib bone ) and the traditional Lawry cut, which I had. Of course, it was cooked perfectly. By the way, did I mention that each prime-rib dinner comes with the salad, mashed potatoes, Yorkshire pudding ( for sopping up gravy from the potatoes ) and even whipped-cream horseradish? And when was the last time you had creamed corn? ( I wasn't sure what to think of it, but it was absolutely divineI kid you not. )
And if you somehow have room after all that, I heartily recommend Lawry's desserts, which include sticky toffee pudding, cheesecake, hot-fudge sundae and other items.
As for drinks, there's a tantalizing selection of wines and champagne, including the veritable Dom Perignon. However, feel free to also have a cocktail, including the refreshing Chicago Sunset, which comes with a miniature Chicago flag on a toothpick.
You may have walked by Lawry's a thousand times ( as I had ), but check it out: It will not only pleasant surprise you, but that older relative will probably love it as well.
Note: Restaurant profiles/events are based on invitations arranged from restaurants and/or firms.