Serious Beef

Bavette's is a steakhouse for the modern set

We imagine Frank Sinatra would amble down the street from his old River North haunt to give Bavette's the nod, were he still around.

With shrimp de Jonghe on the menu and Nina Simone on the speakers, the newest low-lit, leather-boothed haunt from Brendan Sodikoff of Gilt Bar, Maude's and Au Cheval oozes old-school style.

That shrimp ($17) is a superlative version of the classic Chicago dish from the early 20th century. Here, Texas toast replaces traditional breadcrumbs; use the slices to snag every drop of the plate's sherry-garlic-herb butter.

Beef is Black Angus, with bone-in filet mignon and prime rib eye dry-aged in-house. Steak frites ($21) is an excellent starting point, a tender flatiron steak served medium-rare, with thick-cut frites and béarnaise. For a Frenchified iteration, swap the béarnaise for maitre d'hôtel butter ($4) and liberate the fries from their tin bucket–the better for soaking up the beef juices.

"Black label" meatloaf ($16), made from a finely ground blend of Black Angus and Duroc pork, is a worthy detour from steak. As is a dish of roasted tomatoes crowned with thick strips of tender maple-glazed bacon ($12), and a baseball-size scoop of Black Dog's malted-whiskey gelato ($5) for dessert.

Bavette's Bar & Boeuf, 218 W. Kinzie St.; 312-624-8154