David Burke’s Primehouse has been named Chicago’s #1 steakhouse, and it’s burger made Food & Wine’s list of Best Burgers in the US. After all this buzz, I needed to check things out myself. Attached to The James Hotel in Chicago’s River North, Primehouse manages to feel welcoming yet formal. You won’t feel underdressed in jeans, or overdressed in a suit. It’s a fitting place for a business lunch, or dinner with friends.
My friend and I started the meal with the bacon and I was pleasantly surprised to see that it wasn’t thin strips of bacon, but instead big hearty cubes of bacon, which were seasoned with maple syrup and black pepper. The top and bottom edges of the bacon were slightly charred, and this was a delicious thing since the maple syrup seemed to caramelize delighting my tastebuds with both sweet and salty.
Next we had the Caesar Salad. I love Caesar Salad, but sometimes restaurants have a hard time getting a classic salad right. (There is nothing worse than a fishy Caesar Salad). Primehouse doesn’t stray from tradition. Their Caesar Salad is a classic perfected. My friend and I split the salad, which comes in a generous portion. Primehouse does offer the option of adding anchovies, crab croutons, chicken, smoked salmon, shrimp, or filet to the salad to turn it into a full meal.
Then, of course, I had the burger. What makes Primehouse’s burger so special? Well for starters, the meat is dry-aged for 40 days. The beef is topped with caramelized onions and sautéed spinach – two of my favorite burger toppings, and toppings I chose for my Trenchermen burger special. You get to pick your cheese. I picked cheddar, and it was a top quality aged cheddar. Then two pieces of thin and perfectly crispy bacon are added on top. The soft fresh bun is spread with black pepper aoili, and perfectly crisp and salt fries come on the side. Prime house certainly earned their spot on Food & Wine’s list.
I am reluctant to compare the Primehouse burger to the other burgers in Chicago, because it is just so different. Other reviews say that it is the burger that tastes most like steak, and I have to agree. Even though the burger is heavily dressed with toppings, the dry-aged beef is the star. You just really need to go taste it yourself. I also need to mention the thick battered and extra crispy onion rings, which were a special treat.
Primehouse‘s address is 616 North Rush Street, in Chicago’s River North neighborhood. They do accept reservations.