There are a few things Chicagoans take seriously. One is the importance of snow tires. Another is beef.
From West Loop wholesalers to bodacious burgers near the North Side to a century of brilliant butchery at Gepperth’s, the Windy City is for meat lovers. With favorites like Chicago franks and the much beloved Italian beef dominating local hearts, minds and dinner plates, Welcome to the Jungle never tasted so good.
It takes a real game changer, then, to shake things up in America’s carnivorous capital. Rick Gresh is that protein pioneer.
A self-professed meat geek, Gresh has run David Burke’s Primehouse at the chic James Chicago for nearly five years. In April 2012, he went rogue, partnering with Oklahoma State’s Agricultural School to debut a brand new cut of beef at Chicago’s annual Protein Innovation Summit. (Because there is, in fact, such a thing as a protein innovation summit.)
Gresh’s creation, the curiously named Vegas Strip Steak, is one for our nose-to-tail-eating times: it’s cut from a section of the cow that had previously gone unused or simply relegated to scrap meat. The result is a 14-ounce steak that’s leaner than a New York Strip but similar in taste and texture to a Flatiron.
Most importantly, it’s delicious. At Primehouse, Gresh serves the steak thinly sliced on a toasted baguette, and tops it with goat cheese-spiked mayonnaise, black olive tapenade and crisp Romaine.
What makes the Vegas Strip Steak Sandwich unusual amongst its beefy brethren is its light touch. The lean cut and Mediterranean treatment make Gresh’s sammitch feel less heavy than your typical steak sub. It’s the sort of distinctly American innovation that makes John Mellencamp proud, and finds locals heading to the James to ask, “Where’s the beef?”
More sandwiches gone wild on Food Republic: