This month’s restaurant pick is Maple & Ash.
This stunning four story restaurant opened last November in the heart of Gold Coast. This restaurant isn’t your typical steakhouse like all the others in Chicago. It stands out because they use a wood fire grill for their steaks, chops, and seafood! I mean have you ever heard of crab legs being cooked over wood?
In November they launched a preview week which offered a tasting menu at a discounted price. My boyfriend and I invited another couple out for a date night. I’ve heard about the restaurant for so long and there was/is so much buzz about how great it’s going to be. It was even listed in Conde Nast Traveler Magazine. Unfortunately, it was a little rocky. I won’t go into all the details, but I will say the service was awful and I ended up sending back my steak because it was almost burnt to a crisp. Some of the staff didn’t know what they were serving us…yeah not great. I understand why they have a preview, so that they can work out the kinks and so that they can understand what works and what doesn’t. While they figured that out, I decided hang back for a couple months before giving it a try again.
Fast forward to February 2016. My girlfriend and I decided to check it out for dinner. A complete turn around!! Check out my review below.
The decor and overall vibe reminds me of an old cigar club. That old money type of feel. All the framing and flooring is made out of maple wood accented with a moss green color in the sofas and lighting. It’s dimly lit which makes it a little hard on the eyes, but the bright green tones and the beautiful chandelier totally brightens the space.
The crowd is diverse ranging from late 20s to early 60s. You definitely don’t want to come here under dressed. If you’re looking for something less fancy, I mean like no table cloths and can speak loudly, I would suggest making a rezzie for the downstairs lounge. The lounge was poppin! Large enough seating to dine down stairs or table tops to have drinks while you wait for your table. Upstairs is a little more reserved. Business men in suites and women in Louboutins. I would suggest sitting upstairs for a celebratory occasion, i.e. an anniversary or a birthday.
As soon as we walked in there were four people at the hostess desk waiting to greet us. Because I had made a reservation before they knew that I had been here before without asking and said Thank you for returning. A really nice personal touch, especially when a place does become so popular it’s nice to be recognized. Once you’re seated you’re offered a complimentary specialty martini. Again a really nice touch. We had about two men waiting on our table. One guy handled our drink orders while the other was the main server that went over the menu and took our order. While they rotated, we always had someone readily available in case we needed something.
Food and Drinks
On a scale from one to 10, I would give it an 8.5. The wine menu is pretty pricey, the Pinot boots started at $52 a bottle and can go up to $2,000. We split the meatballs and the octopus. I loved both but would go with the octopus again. Super flavorful and tender. For the entree I went with the 6oz filet with Bearnaise sauce. My girlfriend had the rack of lamb and we shared the whipped and butter potatoes and the broccolini. The food was amazing! My steak was perfectly cooked and the broccolini had a nice bite from the balsamic vinaigrette. I didn’t give it a 10 because I loved it but not enough for me to order it over and over again because there’s so many other things that I want to try.
Overall they completely stepped up their game and it is now the new hot spot in Chicago. Check it out