Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Mastro's Steakhouse

Location: 520 N. Dearborn
Cost: $85 per person

Disclaimer to the DISCLAIMER (the only thing written by Jeff Pearl on this post)
My roommate, Jeff Schneider, eats a lot of (and is very knowledgeable about) steak. He also has a job. These two things give him a unique advantage over myself in the steakhouse critiquing department. He's well versed on the topic and has eaten a plethora of meals at my side. So far, he's been a pivotal behind the scenes contributor to JEC, and he's now taken the opportunity to write a post. This first bit about me having any standards may be a bit much, but it's a solid post. I look forward to more of the like in the future.


First and foremost, I’d like to thank future Dr. Pearl for allowing me the opportunity to guest star on his renowned blog.  I have stated many times that I would like to write a post for the site but was always intimidated due the standard of excellence my roommate never fails to meet.  For all that aren’t aware, Jeff takes this page incredibly seriously and it without a doubt shows.  We have grown accustomed to his extremely well written, articulate, fair, entertaining, and informative posts.  So for those reasons and more, I was always reluctant to add my two cents because the last thing I want to do is sully the reputation he has deservedly achieved.  With that being said, this post is written by Jeff Schneider and all opinions, descriptions, rankings, and insight should be credited to me (plus I know more about fine steakhouses than Pearl).  Here goes nothing...

(Writing style inspired by Jeff Eats Chicago successfully established template)

Randi “Silverfox” Schneider and David Schneider recently celebrated 33 blissful(ish) years of matrimony. This happy, aged couple always marks their anniversary by taking their children Jamie (University of Wisconsin, 2006) and Jeff (University of Wisconsin, 2009) out for a special meal.  Joining us was recent New Jersey transplant, boyfriend to Jamie, and Pledge Master to Jeff, David Fintz.  Now, the Schneiders love them some great steak and fish places.  We have been to all the great ones that our fine city has to offer (Joes, Chicago Chop House, Wildfire, Mortons, Gibsons, etc), so naturally we had to see what all the rage was over the trendy, Jay Cutler approved Mastro's.

Mastros is located conveniently in the heart of River North.  The service and hospitality are second to none.  When we checked in, they wished my parents a happy anniversary (how did they know considering I made the reservation and didn’t say a word, stay tuned...).  They were extremely accommodating when we asked to be moved from our somewhat sandwiched in table to a much more spacious booth.  Our glasses were always full (a critical factor in any JEC critique), and the waitress gave us excellent suggestions when prompted.  Furthermore, they brought out two glasses of champagne for my parents (resolution to aforementioned mystery:  My Grandmother called ahead and informed them of the special occasion).  Price wise, expect to spend around $80-$90 per person (2-3 drinks per person factored into this price).

We started with two appetizers for the table, shrimp cocktail and tuna tartare.  The presentation of the shrimp was truly something none of us had ever seen before.  The three prawns came out on dry ice so needless to say the mist made for quite the visual spectacle.  Even the patrons at the surrounding tables stopped their meals and conversations to take in the sight.  The shrimp were not only incredibly large but fresh, colder than usual (thanks to the dry ice), and quite tasty.  The tuna tartare, however, was a tad bit disappointing due to the fact that tuna was lost in the dish.  The avocado and the crunchy bottom crust dominated and overwhelmed the fish.  Don’t get me wrong, we all thought it was quite tasty, but again, all would have liked to get more of a tuna flavor.

The Shrimp Cocktail

The Ahi Tuna Tartare

Main Course and Sides
The three manly men all got steaks while the ladies opted for fish.  My father went with the bone-in ribeye, Fintz got the bone-in filet (described to us as Mastros signature cut), and I decided on the porterhouse.  My mother got the salmon, and my sister ordered the blackened swordfish.  For sides, we split the lobster mashed potatoes, sweet potato mash, broccoli, and sauteed spinach.  The biggest overall problem that I found with the proteins was the way they were served.  The plates come out at 400º F which in concept is cool, but we all found our dishes to be over/unevenly cooked.  For instance, I ordered my steak medium rare, but got something closer to medium-medium well (especially on the bottom of the steak and at the edges that were in direct contact with the plate).  The same was true for the fish, with the top being flaky and the bottom being somewhat dried out.  Furthermore, I found the meat to be somewhat tough and the strip side of my porterhouse to be fattier than usual.  As far as the sides, the two potato dishes had a strange, unpleasant aftertaste that none of us could really pinpoint to a specific seasoning.  The veggies were nothing special.  For dessert (and final touch of class) Mastros provided the table with a special triple layer chocolate cake to honor my parents anniversary.  The cake was very rich and quite possibly my favorite component of the entire meal.

The Blackened Salmon

The Swordfish

The Porterhouse with Sides
(Sweet Potato Mash, Lobster Mashed Potatoes, and Sauteed Spinach) 

The Triple Layer Chocolate Cake

When I rate any steakhouse (and for that matter any specific genre of food) I find myself comparing to my favorites.  My Mount Rushmore includes Joes, Wildfire, Mortons, and Chicago Chop House.  Mastros did not come close.  I found myself walking out disappointed after all the rave reviews I’ve heard from others who have been.  Perhaps I had built it up too much, perhaps I was being overly critical in order to do this fine blog (and more importantly Pearl) justice, but for me Mastros doesn’t rank up there with Chicago’s elite steakhouses.  The overall consensus was 3 pearls out of 5.  Why you may ask considering the food didn’t live up to the hype?  Well, the service and atmosphere were spot on.  The staff go above and beyond to ensure a first class dining experience.  Once again, I’d like to thank Pearl for letting me do my thing.  Have your dogs spayed or neutered.

Mastro's on Urbanspoon


  1. What do you think of Capital Grille, Smith & Wollensky and David Burke's Primehouse?

  2. I'm surprised...a friend of mine loves this place (especially when not paying the bill). Oh well.
    Jeff - I was about to be completely impressed with a med student taking time and $ to check out a steak house. I'm sort of relieved the world hasn't stopped spinning :) Hope to catch up soon.

  3. To comment 1:
    - I like the Capital Grille (especially for dry aged steaks), and haven't been to David Burke's yet. You can check out the restaurant week post from I Like to Eat ( or Sophia's post from the Gastro Lounge (

    To comment 2:
    - Yeah, steakhouses are a bit much for my budget right now, but luckily I've got some knowledgeable friends that can keep me informed.

  4. Interesting. I was going to go here, but I'll opt for one of the classics instead. I've actually embarrasingly never been to Gibsons.

  5. Great post, I was recently there and this summarizes my experience perfectly! Keep up the excellent work!

  6. michael kors handbags,
    futbol baratas,
    true religion jeans,
    thomas sabo uk,
    adidas wings,
    tiffany jewellery,
    lacoste polo shirts,
    christian louboutin uk,
    gucci handbags,
    karen millen dresses,
    hermes outlet,
    true religion jeans,
    cheap nfl jerseys,
    air jordan 13,
    canada goose outlet,
    kobe 9,
    nike free uk,
    true religion jeans,
    oakley sunglasses,
    true religion outlet,
    air jordan shoes,
    ray ban sunglasses,
    cheap jordans,
    tiffany and co jewelry,
    michael kors handbags,

  7. When you have sent a friend request to anybody and in case that person is not accepting your friend request you can still follow that person and get all the updates he/she has made in your Facebook followers on facebook

  8. شركة الصفا والمروه لخدمات التنظيف
    شركة تنظيف بالدمام
    شركة تنظيف منازل بالدمام
    شركة تنظيف خزانات بالدمام
    شركة تنظيف مجالس بالدمام
    شركة نقل عفش بالدمام
    شركة رش مبيدات بالدمام
    شركة تسليك مجاري بالدمام
    شركة تنظيف شقق بالدمام
    شركة تنظيف فلل بالدمام
    شركة مكافحة حشرات بالدمام
    شركة كشف تسربات المياة بالدمام

    شركة مكافحة النمل الابيض بالخبر
    شركة تنظيف بالخبر
    شركة كشف تسربات المياة بالخبر
    شركة مكافحة النمل الابيض بالخبر
    شركة تسليك مجاري بالخبر

    شركة تنظيف بالاحساء
    شركة تنظيف بالقطيف
    شركة مكافحة حشرات بالدمام
    شركة تسليك مجاري بالجبيل
    شركة كشف تسربات المياة بالجبيل
    شركة تسليك مجاري بالاحساء
    شركة تسليك مجاري بالرياض
    شركة تسليك مجاري بجدة
    شركة تسليك مجاري بتبوك
    شركة تسليك مجاري بالقطيف
    شركة كشف تسربات المياة بالاحساء
    شركة كشف تسربات المياة بالقطيف
    شركة تسليك مجاري ببقيق
    شركة تسليك مجاري بالطائف

    شركة تسليك مجاري بالباحة
    شركة تسليك مجاري بالخفجي
    شركة تسليك مجاري بعنك-سيهات
    شركة تسليك مجاري بالنعيرية
    شركة مكافحة النمل الابيض بالخبر

    شركة مكافحة النمل الابيض بالدمام
    شركة تسليك مجاري بالدمام

  9. افضل شركة غسيل وتعقيم خزانات غسيل الكنب والسجاد ومكافحة الحشرات وتسليك المجارى بالمدينة المنورة المثالية 0552692371
    شركة تنظيف بالمدينة المنورة تنظيف الفلل والشقق بالمدينة المنورة

    شركة تسليك مجارى بالمدينة المنورة

    شركة غسيل كنب بالمدينة المنورة
    شركة غسيل خزانات بالمدينة المنورة
    شركة تنظيف خزانات بالمدينة المنورة
    شركة تنظيف خزانات بالمدينة المنورة

    شركة غسيل كنب بالمدينة المنورة
    شركة غسيل شقق بالمدينة المنورة

    شركة مكافحة حشرات بالمدينة المنورة
    شركة غسيل خزانات بالمدينة المنورة
    شركة غسيل كنب بالمدينة المنورة

    شركة مكافحة حشرات بالمدينه المنوره

    شركة غسيل شقق بالمدينة المنورة
    شركة غسيل كنب بالمدينة المنورة

    شركة مكافحة حشرات بالمدينة المنورة
    شركة تسليك مجارى بالمدينة المنورة

    شركة مكافحة حشرات بالمدينة المنورة
    شركة كشف تسربات المياة بالمدينة المنورة

  10. to to hack android game lucky patcher This post is to good for me. Then i want to introduce my on site at fishdom | abcya slitherio | . Give us our feedbacks if you want some change in my site. don't hesitate!

  11. Discivery Outlook and many Microsoft services with a single account. Explore how easy it is to manage and search your email, contacts, and calendar and keep up with social networks with Outlook
    outlook sign in