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Fire Up the Hearth: Maple & Ash Quietly Opens to the Public

The long-awaited spot's still not 100 percent operational, but guests can start binging on red meat.

Maple & Ash
Maple & Ash
Ashok Selvam

Though workers still need to apply a few finishing touches, Maple & Ash—the long-awaited Gold Coast steakhouse—has begun opening to the public, as they're taking reservations via OpenTable so guests can book a table for tonight. Diners can try chef David Ochs' wood-grilled steaks while checking out a view of State and Rush streets from the second-floor dining room.

The first-floor bar isn't quite ready for prime time, but guests can walk past the booths and grab the elevator to the second floor and find a massive dimly-lit space. The chairs are lined with a corduroy-like material. There's a lounge area with a bar where patrons can wait for their table. There's the aforementioned tables with views of the neighborhood, high above Mariano Park, a.k.a. the Viagra Triangle. The center atrium gives diners a more intimate, yet airy feel that lets in light from the windowed roof.

Food-wise, the star at Maple & Ash is steak, further scored by the steak knives emblazoned with the restaurant's name. There's the 40-ounce "Eisenhower" — a massive porterhouse fit for sharing. Bone-in rib eyes and filet mignon can be accompanied by a variety of sauces (so very Viagara Triangle, called "Arm Candy") including Bernaise and chimichurri. A 28-day dry aged strip is another menu highlight.

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Maple & Ash's first-floor bar. [Photo: Ashok Selvam]

While Ochs and company take their food seriously, the copy on the menu lends a playful tone, a welcome addition to the area's sometimes stuffy steakhouse scene. There's the "I Don't Give a !@#$" which when ordered will allow the staff to course out items of their choice, a kind of anonymous prix fixe that includes desert. The menu's also full of Will Ferrell references, including Scotchy Scotch Scotch from "Anchorman" (Famous Grouse, David Nicholson 1843 BIB, Cochi Torino, Grand Marnier, Laphroaig float). There's also the seafood tower which comes in two sizes: "Semi-Pro" (another movie reference) and "Baller," a reference to the amount of money customers will spend at the establishments. The towers come with Parker House rolls perfect for dipping. The cocktail list includes eight martinis and six specialty drinks. Check out the menu below.

maple&ashdrinks

Eventually a basement bar will open, and could conjure up memories of The Hunt Club, the late-night bar that once occupied the space before crews razed the building. Like The Hunt Club, Maple & Ash possesses a coveted 4 a.m. liquor license, so it'll be open late. They'll have DJs and bands to keep the night going, if guests resist the temptation of passing out from their pending food comas.

Maple & Ash

8 West Maple Street, , IL 60610 (312) 944-8888 Visit Website

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