The Caucus Room

A handsome power-dining room.

From October 2003

From its opening day, this Sam & Harry's offshoot championed steaks served on the bone. It shares its Chicago purveyor of USDA Prime steaks with its parent, so one can expect similar quality at both restaurants. The Caucus Room does not offer a porterhouse steak, preferring to divide that cut into a strip on the bone and a filet on the bone.

A bone-in rib eye was sampled here. Ordered medium-rare, it had a nearly black exterior made unattractive by several fissures across its surface, as if the broiler's heat–and the cook's sense of timing–had caused it to split apart. The interior of the steak was mostly raw, which meant it had to be sawed and pulled into pieces rather than neatly sliced. Although the waiter said the steak was aged for three weeks, it showed no trace of age in its aroma or its flavor, even in the crisp bits of meat sliced from either side of the rib bone. The steak was served with a dollop of horseradish-flavored mashed potatoes.

The better of the two house salads is Haley's Chopped Salad, a wonderfully old-fashioned bowl of cold crunchiness dressed with a mustard vinaigrette and scattered with Maytag bleu cheese.

The wine list at the Caucus Room has enough familiar labels to inspire confidence in the casual wine drinker, plus plenty of adventurous choices from both California and France. For single diners, the list offers a fine choice of half bottles.

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