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SAVOR Benny's Chop House; mayor honors chefs
DISH: Weekly Dining Guide in Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

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Benny's Chop House ( 444 N. Wabash Ave.; ) is a deceptive spot.

The steakhouse has a distinctly upper-crust feel, from the menu ( more on that later ) to the stately decor—and one might expect a haughty atmosphere. However, it's as welcoming as the corner diner where one might get a slice of apple pie, a cup of coffee and a server who calls you "hon."

Hostesses greet diners with non-plastic smiles, and staffers ( including Director of Operations Mitchell Schmieding and Chef Gaetano Ascione ) mingle among diners with hellos, stories—and checks on how patrons like the food/drinks.

And the food... Ascione certainly knows what he's doing—and here's hoping he doesn't change a thing ( or much ) in the near future. Even something such as nachos are elevated, as the blue chips are dotted with jalapeno and chop-house bacon ( and this dish was actually one of my favorite of the night ). The arancini were delicious, as were the petite crab cakes and oysters Rockefeller ( and I'm not even a fan of the shellfish ).

I was fortunate enough to sample a Benny's beef tasting—including the Japanese Tajima Kobe, A5 filet, which didn't even need a knife to cut. However, one can't go wrong with the USDA prime natural filet mignon or the prime dry-aged, bone-in ribeye.

And if you still manage to have room for dessert, Benny's has some pretty scrumptious options to consider. For example, there are a huge slice of banana cream pie with caramel-glazed bananas; chocolate pudding cake with coffee-toffee ice cream; and perfectly made souffles ( which can be notoriously difficult to bake ).

Also, be sure to consider this spot for Valentine's Day. Not only will the restaurant do such things as personalize menus and desserts, but people will certainly vie for Booth 41—considered by some to be the most romantic restaurant seating in the city.

Benny's has been around since 2010. Here's hoping its welcoming atmosphere and great food exist for much longer. Pound for pound, it's one of the best steakhouses in Chicago.

Note: Restaurant profiles/events are based on invitations arranged from restaurants and/or firms.

Mayor honors chefs

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has proclaimed Feb. 15 to be "Fred Hoffmann Day in Chicago"; Feb. 16 to be "Chef Mindy Segal Day in Chicago"; and Feb. 17 to be "Chef John Hogan Day in Chicago"; all leading up to their inductions into the Chicago Culinary Museum and Chefs Hall of Fame ( ).

All three chefs will be formally inducted at an event open to the public on Saturday, Feb. 17, at The Palmer House Hilton, 17 E. Monroe St. 6-7 p.m. The induction ceremony will precede the For the Love Of Chocolate Foundation's 13th annual fundraiser, and tickets purchased for the Chefs Hall of Fame induction event will include attendance at "Whimsy: A Dessert Dream Brought to Life" until midnight. Tickets are $175 each; visit or .

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