Even if you're completely clueless about football, you can't help but be impressed by Don Shula's record of the only perfect season (1972) in NFL history when his Miami Dolphins creamed every team in their path. If you're a steak fan, why not treat yourself to a majestic meat experience at a fine steakhouse like Shula's where everything is oversized from the legendary coach's resume to the buttery leather chairs and the substantial steaks, sides and desserts.
One of the top steak houses in the country, Shula's enjoys a partnership with breeders of Certified Angus Beef, the best beef money can buy, and offers custom cuts aged to perfection. The football theme is everywhere: managers are called "Head Coaches," ( okay, a little fey, granted), the menus are hand painted on an official NFL game football and the walls are covered in images of the celebrated season.
The restaurant is dimly lit so no one will notice when you spill a bit of your "Sinatra" martini or any of the others on the martini list. The Chicago location boasts over 500 bottles on its wine list covering all areas with emphasis on California Cabernet Sauvignon, Meritage and older vintages.
The signature shrimp appetizer is luscious - four or six colossal crustaceans stuffed with basil and enveloped in smoky bacon and bbq sauce. Lobster bisque is silky smooth and you can actually see and taste bits of lobster. Salads are traditional steakhouse choices such as Cobb, Caesar (with house made croutons the size of your grandmas's large-print dice) and a perky tomato and Mozzarella chop.
Not into steak? Choose pan seared sea scallops, jumbo lump crab cakes, lamb Porterhouse, twin lobster tails, daily fresh fish renditions or French cut chicken breast. Waitstaff rolls the cart o'meat to your table to introduce steaks from the 8 oz Filet Mignon to the insane 48 oz Porterhouse (over 25,000 hearty souls have joined Shula’s 48-Ounce Club.) Sides include particularly rich creamed spinach, truffle fries, roasted corn with Applewood bacon and shallots and double baked potato, among others. Order the molten lava cake or the chocolate soufflé for two when determining entrees - these desserts take a little longer.
Is it the best steak in town? It's right up there, in quality and price, with Chicago's big players.
Shula's Steakhouse Chicago
301 E North Water St
Chicago, IL 60611