Where to find Chicago’s cleanest organic and grass-fed steaks

By Kat Odell

What’s better than a perfectly prepared steak? One that also comes from a source that makes informed and sustainable choices about their beef every step of the way—and a growing number of restaurants are now offering just that. While some operators seek an organic certification, many look past that stamp of approval in favor of knowing the farming practices of those who raise their animals. Below, some of the Windy City’s top haunts to experience organic and grass-fed steak.

The Promontory
Last month, chef Carlos Cruz over at four-year-old The Promontory threw an organic 42-ounce tomahawk steak ($95) on the restaurant, bar, and concert venue’s menu. Cruz sources the steak from Slagel Family Farms in Fairbury, and he’s grilling it over The Promontory’s central open hearth. Cruz catches the steak drippings in a pan, then emulsifies this in European butter. He pours the unctuous mixture on to the bottom of a plate before placing the steak atop, finishing it with a sprinkle of Maldon salt.
Neighborhood: Hyde Park MAP

Pacific Standard Time
One Off Hospitality and Underscore Hospitality’s newest kid on the block is Pacific Standard Time, a sunny and spacious California-inspired eatery focusing on seasonal produce. By way of proteins, Executive Chef Erling Wu-Bower is serving a Slagel Family Farm rib eye ($75) raised without added hormones, steroids or constant levels of antibiotics. They're fed with grass, grain and hay, and are processed without preservatives or artificial additives. Plus, it’s big enough to feed two to three guests. In terms of prep, he roasts the rib eye in PST’s wood-fueled hearth, and serves it with roasted onions, marinated peppers, a grilled wedge salad, and a miso bagna cauda.
Neighborhood: River North MAP

Range Chicago
Neighborhood farm-to-table Range, dedicated to sustainable and Midwest-sourced ingredients, offers a free-raised, grass-fed, grass-finished, organic hanger steak ($27) from Wisconsin’s Strauss Brands meats. The meat hits the table next to sautéed spinach, fingerling potatoes cooked in duck fat, caramelized cipollini onions, and pea shoot butter, all served with a River Valley Ranch mushroom wine sauce from Range's early-summer menu 2018.
Neighborhood: Lincoln Park MAP

True Food Kitchen
The Chicago outlet of countrywide clean eats chain True Food Kitchen offers a number of organic and grass-fed steak options. Those looking for organic, grass-fed and finished meat can order a bowl or salad and add steak, or opt for the steak tacos, all of which call for meat from Verde Farms Beef in Uruguay.
Neighborhood: River North MAP

River Valley Farmer’s Table
As a restaurant tied to a farm that has been in operation for 42 years, River Valley Farmer’s Table sources grass-fed, grain-finished, and pasture-raised beef from Ney’s meats in Wisconsin. In place of a simply-grilled steak, the eatery preps a steak Benedict ($16), which includes miso-honey-marinated skirt steak that’s served on a buttermilk biscuit with charred onion, tomato slices, and two poached farm eggs, topped with Bearnaise sauce.
Neighborhood: Ravenswood MAP

Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse
All three Chicago locations of classic American steakhouse Gibsons source grass-fed, free-range steaks from Australia that are dry-aged for a minimum of 75 days. Patrons can pick from a 14-ounce New York ($54) or a 12-ounce bone-in filet ($60).
Neighborhood: North Side MAP

RPM Steak
Modern beef fixture RPM Steak serves a plethora of proteins, with two steak preps calling for more naturally-raised meat. The 14-ounce 25-day dry-aged New York strip ($MP) comes from hormone-free Batavian cattle that are fed grass, grain, alfalfa, and wheat straw; meanwhile the 20-ounce bone-in ribeye ($59) is entirely grass-fed and finished, sourced from Rain Crow Ranch in Missouri.
Neighborhood: River North MAP

Mott Street
Edward Kim over at inspired Asian eatery Mott Street is grilling up an organic, pasture-raised, corn-finished bone-in rib eye ($MP) from Painted Hills Farm in Oregon. He serves the meat with pan drippings, confit garlic, rice fries, and escabeche parsley salad, plus a house Worcestershire sauce made from 40 different ingredients that he ages for 40 days.
Neighborhood: Wicker Park MAP

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