Hehe, I only typed ‘sauce’ because I have a hard time remembering the spelling for ‘giardinare’
Now that brings up an important thing: how do you pronounce ‘giardinare’?
I assume ‘wet’ means they take the whole assembled sandwich and dip it, bread and all, into a pan of au jus?
Better not ask for "sauce" on the side, they won’t know what you’re talking about! The gardinera is the hot, as in spicy, mixiture of pickled veggies as a topping for the beef. I prefer the "sports" which are the pickled hot peppers. Make sure you ask for it "wet", that’s dipping it in the cooked juices. It’s messy but thats what it all about.
GlennPan: Thanks for your extensive commentary 🙂
That said, a couple of responses:
I’m going to the Billy Goat because it amuses me personally to have been to the Cheeboorger CheeBoorger of the original saturday night live fame. Yeah, it’s touristy, ah well, it something I want to be able to say "I’ve been there". Call it a personal affectation 🙂
I will skip the cheese and ask for the sauce on the side on the Beef.
Is Giordano’s and/or Nancy’s in the downtown area near the Sears Tower?
Mr. Beef, Al’s Beef, and Buona Beef are all very good. I have never tried Luke’s.
When you order, definitely order your sandwich wet (or dipped). You can have the giardinare on the side, in case you like it better without. I personally think that the best beefs do NOT have cheese on them. You should only be tasting the beef, garlic and spices. Cheese ruins the experience for me, this is an I-beef not a chesseburger or a cheesesteak we are talking about.
As for your other choices, Lou Malnati’s is good (I personally like Nancy’s and Giordano’s better but that is personal taste). Skip the Billy Goat though! This is one of my tourist pet peeves (along with Ed Debevics, and Michael Jordan’s restaurant when it existed).
Chicago’s best eating values and flavors are in its ethnic foods. Berghoff and Russian Tea Time are excellent as someone else pointed out. Greektown is the place I would really recommend hitting in town! Most of the places (Rodity’s, Athena’s, Greek Islands, Santorini’s) are great, and the prices are very reasonable. Nothing is better in the winter than a hot bowl of egg-lemon soup, some lamb, and a Metaxa to finish it off.
Yes, Berghoffs is open for dinner. You can’t go wrong with any of the german dishes there, especially the wiener schnitzel. If you want a little more expensive but memorable dinner, walk a couple of blocks further east on Adams to the Russian Tea Room. It’s a fairly fancy place that can be a real experience, especially if you order the vodka flights. It’s very busy on Chicago Symphony Orch. nights (around corner). It’s a white tablecloth restuarant with excellent but never intimidating service. The food is great.
It’s just a local place and I’ve never seen review, although I’ve probably been eating there about 15 years. Just googled it and found:
Will try to make it there, but my lunchtime will be controlled by trainers, not me, so I’ll see if I can’t hit Berghoffs for dinner…assuming they are open for dinner?
Not Italian beef, but if you’re in the Sear’s Tower a couple of weeks, you should definately make it to Berghoff’s for lunch at least once. Wonderful german restuarant that’s reviewed here. About 3 blocks east of the Tower on Adams street. Be sure and be there at 11:30 when the doors open or you’ll probably have a wait.
Thanks 🙂 Can you point me to a review or a website for Lukes?
(I really appreciate all the good advice I am getting here, btw)
If you are in Sears Tower, a great place for an authentic Chicago Italian Beef sandwich is Luke’s, half a block east of the Tower. It’s on the south side of the street in the 200 block of Jackson. It’s a real Chicago place with excellent Italian beef and I dought you’ll be leave hungry, especially if you get the huge order of fries. Be sure and get it with the peppers, either sweet or hot. In fact go twice and try both. I love’m. [:)]
Everyone I have been to all offer combos, I would think that it is almost mandatory.
I saw that Holly Moore (hollyeats.com) ordered a ‘combo’ at one of the Beef places he went to in Chicago. Do all Chicago style beef sandwich places serve combos?
I find that Mr. Beef is overrated in flavor, I like the au jus used at Buona better. And yes, in my opinion, gardinara is a must. I just like mine served on the side so I can pick the green olives out. Can’t stand olives. I also like melted mozzeralla on my sandwich, which preferably is a combo (beef and sausage).
So it’s really not a Chicago style beef sandwich unless you have the Guardinera on it?
Guardinera or sports (hot peppers) make the Ilalian beef, plus have it wet, dipped into the gravy so it’s all juicy and messy! I love it! Cheese is not traditional and not offered at many places. Portillo’s, a Chicago area family chain. is my favorite but some of the small hole in the wall pizza joints (non-chain) serve a pretty good beef, you just have to seek them out. Unfortunetly the pizza place near work has the most awful beefs around, no flavor and DRY [xx(]. Tried that place once for beef, but they do have good pizza and we return for that often.
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