Truluck's Seafood, Steak and Crab House ( 41 E. Chestnut St.; trulucks.com/locations/downtown-chicago-illinois/ ) is one of the most recent restaurants in a city that has so many steakhouses that they range from the traditional ( like Gene and Georgetti as well as Gibsons ) to flashier, more contemporary models ( STK Chicago ).
And if you're not sure what type of establishment you're entering ( located in what was seafood restaurant McCormick & Schmick's ), look no further than the spot's website, which states, "We are business casual. Thank you for not wearing tank tops, sleeveless shirts, flip-flops, gym wear or short shorts. Dress shorts are acceptable. Please remove your hat when entering the restaurant." ( Still, it's not like it's requiring suitsbut don't think about donning a muscle shirt. )
My friend and I knew we were in for an intriguing evening when we met our server, Rico, who said he's from Tierra del Fuego, Chile, and was once a Calvin Klein model ( breaking out photos from his phone as we sat in disbelief ).
What followed was, overall, a wonderful experience, with every diner's need being catered to. ( YesI notice the people around me as well. )
Regarding drinks, I started with the Voila, which Rico insisted I get because "it comes with a show." I was afraid where this might go, but the "show" involved my drink bubbling and smoking like a witch's cauldron because of the dry ice it contains.
Things then progressed to stone-crab claws, which Truluck's is known for, as it has its own fisheries. The claws were meaty, indeed, and tasty even without the accompanying sauce. ( However, one large claw is $24, so one may want to tread carefully. ) The crab cakes ( and I'm a snob about these items ) were actually impressivesizeable items with very little breading and full of plump crab.
A lobster bisque was very good ( and the added goat cheese turned out to be necessary for taste and viscosity ). Sides like the king-crab mac 'n cheese and kung pao cauliflower were surprisingly hit-or-miss, although my friend absolutely loved the cheddar grits.
As for the entrees, my friend had a New York strip that was done expertlyand I had to say the same for my miso-glazed sea bass, accompanied by cucumber slaw. ( I wish the dish were larger, but that just be my greed talking. )
One other note: I have to give a shout-out to Nyla McDaniel, the chanteuse/pianist who beautifully sang songs by everyone from Aretha Franklin to Gnarls Barkleyand somehow her voice carried even though she didn't sing loudly.
Truluck's ( which has social-hour and gluten-free menus, by the way ) is a Houston-based chain that has spots in Texas and Florida, with Chicago its foray into the Midwest. It's a most welcome addition to the Windy City.
Andersonville Restaurant Week
The Andersonville Chamber of Commerce is hosting this winter's Andersonville Restaurant Week through March 4, highlighting some two dozen Andersonville eateries.
Each of the participating restaurants will offer at least one menu option priced at either $10, $20 or $30 per person; however, many are expanding their focus this year to also include breakfast, brunch, drinks and lunch as well as dinner options. A few of the participating spots will include Appellation, Bar Roma, Big Jones, First Slice Pie Cafe, Hamburger Mary's, Hutch American Kitchen + Bar, Reza's and Vincent.
Visit Andersonville.org/events-2/andersonville-restaurant-week/ .