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Lawry's the Prime Rib

100 E. Ontario, Chicago, IL - (312) 787-5000
Posted By Michael Stern on 12/2/2004 9:34:00 AM
To most people, the name Lawry's means seasoned salt; but before that ubiquitous flavor agent, there was Lawry's The Prime Rib Restaurant. The original Prime Rib was opened in 1938 in Beverly Hills by Lawrence L. Frank, who came up with his herb and spice mix as a way to flavor the beef he served in the restaurant. Now, there are six Lawry's prime rib palaces around the world; and if big slabs of tender, juice-dripping beef are your dish, these should be your destination.

I stopped in the Chicago Prime Rib, which was the first location opened after the West Coast original, and had a meat and potatoes (and salad and Yorkshire pudding) meal to remember.

In addition to the exemplary food, I was smitten by the enthusiasm of the hostess, who sat me down and gushed, "We were the first restaurant ever to serve salad before dinner! We were the first to let women work in a fine-dining environment. We invented the doggie bag and valet parking." Wow, what a set of accomplishments.

"Are you having prime rib?" the waitress asks to every group of customers. In fact, the menu stretches beyond prime rib, but glancing around the English manor-style dining room, I couldn't see a single table that didn't have at least one plate covered with beef. It is delicious, high-seasoned meat, scarcely requiring any of the seasoned salt that is set out on every table in its familiar supermarket cannister.

There are a lot of little touches that make the Lawry's experience something special, such as chilled forks for the salad, which is dressed tableside in a dramatic fashion by the waitress. And of course, the carving of the beef. That, too, is done tableside from a huge stainless steel trolley from which you can order yours any way from bloody red to crusty well-done.

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Prime Rib
Spinning Salad Bowl
Sourdough Bread
Mashed Potatoes
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

A
"A "Lawry-cut" prime rib plate with mashed potatoes and Yorkshire pudding, all in a pool of high-flavored natural gravy. Other vegetables are available on the side -- and the creamed corn is wonderful -- but I went for the classic, well-balanced plate."
Michael Stern





The English Cut is three slices of tender, thinly cut prime rib.
"The English Cut is three slices of tender, thinly cut prime rib."
Cliff Strutz


The Spinning Bowl Salad got its name because the bowl in which it gets dressed is spun on a bed of ice. It's a dramatic tableside flourish abeted by the presentation of a chilled fork with which to eat it.
"The Spinning Bowl Salad got its name because the bowl in which it gets dressed is spun on a bed of ice. It's a dramatic tableside flourish abeted by the presentation of a chilled fork with which to eat it."
Michael Stern


Carver Michael severs a hunk of medium-rare beef off the roast for my dinner.
"Carver Michael severs a hunk of medium-rare beef off the roast for my dinner."
Michael Stern


I love Lawry's sourdough bread. It is utterly fresh, served warm, and has just the right chewy consistency to accompany a platter of pillow-tender beef.
"I love Lawry's sourdough bread. It is utterly fresh, served warm, and has just the right chewy consistency to accompany a platter of pillow-tender beef."
Michael Stern


Lawry's seasonings are on every table. My waitress suggesed I use the seasoned pepper on my salad and the seasoned salt on my meat. In fact, both dishes came perfectly seasoned. Nothing extra was needed.
"Lawry's seasonings are on every table. My waitress suggesed I use the seasoned pepper on my salad and the seasoned salt on my meat. In fact, both dishes came perfectly seasoned. Nothing extra was needed."
Michael Stern


The hot fudge sundae, made with Haagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream and C.C. Brown's hot fudge sauce, is made right at your table.
"The hot fudge sundae, made with Haagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream and C.C. Brown's hot fudge sauce, is made right at your table."
Cliff Strutz


Lawry's is located just off north Michigan Avenue and makes a good dinner destination if you need to store up calories after a day of power shopping.
"Lawry's is located just off north Michigan Avenue and makes a good dinner destination if you need to store up calories after a day of power shopping. "
Michael Stern



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