Steak frites with maître d’ butter at Le Bouchon

$25-and-under steak dishes that are a cut above

Whether it’s our meatpacking roots or those notoriously long, cruel winters, carnivorous Chicagoans love a good steak. But a terrific slab of perfectly cooked beef doesn’t have to come with a $100 price tag. Here are our picks for getting your steak fix in the City of Big Shoulders for under $25.

Steak frites with maître d’ butter at Le Bouchon ($24)
This tiny, bustling bistro, with its unfussy French fare, is a long-loved staple of Bucktown. The steak frites are characteristically unfussy and lovable, too: Quintessentially beefy hanger steak is grilled to coax out a lightly charred flavor, then topped with a thick coin of shallot- and parsley-laced maître d’ butter. A heap of perfectly crisp, salty fries are only improved when they’re dragged through the buttery and beefy liquid that inevitably will pool on the plate.

Rib eye steak sandwich at DB Primehouse ($17)
Considered by many as the city’s best steakhouse for its expertly dry-aged beef, DB Primehouse in the James Hotel is the place to go when you want to drop big bucks ($51, to be exact) on a beautifully marbled, dry-aged rib eye. But if you’re longing for prime beef at a fraction of the cost, opt for the substantial rib eye sandwich, to be found on DB Primehouse’s recently launched lunch menu. Succulent, mid-rare rib eye is piled high on crusty bread with tomato, cheddar, onion, horseradish, piquant black pepper aïoli and flanked by crisp onion rings.

Churrasco at 90 Miles Cuban Café ($22)
Cubans sure know their carne. Case in point: the hulking, 16-ounce grilled skirt steak that forms the centerpiece of churrasco at this casual, colorful BYO Cuban joint. The luscious, toothsome beef is countered by a drizzle of bright, parsley-laced chimichurri, served alongside a generous helping of yellow rice and boiled yuca topped with garlicky mojo.

Steak tacos at L’Patron ($2 each)
In a city with no shortage of steak tacos, L’Patron’s offerings stand out for their beefy simplicity. Double-layered soft corn tortillas are piled with hunks of tender and still-pink grilled beef, chopped onion, and cilantro—but the wonderfully rich, slightly charred flavor of the beef lingers the longest. Do yourself a favor and order three—at $2 each, you can afford it.

Gyu tayaki at Izakaya Mita ($12.50)
Meat options are abound at this Bucktown spot inspired by traditional Japanese pubs, though many are small bites briefly cooked on a searing-hot bincho-tan grill. Gyu tayaki, one of just a handful of large plates on the menu, comprises thinly sliced rare beef in citrusy ponzu sauce. Make a meal of it by adding a few korroke (potato croquettes) or savory, charred binchotan chicken tails—and, of course, a little carafe of sake.

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