Memorable | One of the Best
Ricobene’s | Chicago Street Food | Breaded Steak Sandwich
Review by: Michael Stern
Chicago South Side Breaded Steak Sandwich
The breaded steak sandwich is a South Side Chicago street food little known beyond the Bridgeport neighborhood. It is similar in girth to the city’s widely-beloved Italian beef sandwich. It often is similarly dressed. But the breaded steak sandwich stakes out its own place. The chef pounds a piece of skirt steak until it nearly is as thin as a potato chip. He then breads and fries it, and rolls it up inside a length of sturdy Italian bread. A spill of red sauce complements the cutlet. Now, the condiments. Topped with sweet peppers, hot peppers, or the spicy vegetable-pickle mélange known as giardiniera (and, perhaps, mozzarella cheese), you have one seriously hefty sandwich.
Only in Chicago
Only a few places continue to make a specialty of the breaded steak sandwich. One of the best-liked is Ricobene’s. It has been a favorite local institution since 1946. Now a big, modern dining room with evocative pictures of old Chicago on the walls, Ricobene’s is a fine place to eat breaded steak. It also serves good versions of many other Chicago specialties. These include red hots, Italian beef, and a curious “Vesuvio Italian Classic” sandwich. That’s a crisp, garlicky breaded chicken cutlet dressed with onions, lettuce, tomato, and mayo stuffed into a length of Italian bread. Here you have a quick-eats, street-food version of the knife-and-fork meal known in Chicago as Chicken Vesuvio.
French Fries are a Must
Alongside any exemplary Chicago street food, most of us want French fries. While you may ask to have the fries gilded with melted cheese, Ricobene’s fries are so good straight from the hot oil, they want only a sprinkle of salt. Chicago in general and Ricobene’s in particular have so many wonderful street foods to occupy one’s attention that excellent French fries are sometimes overlooked. Eat your way through a bag of Ricobene’s superb potatoes and you won’t soon forget them.
Directions & Hours
|Meals Served||Lunch, Dinner, Late Night|
|Credit Cards Accepted||No|