Almost hidden away on the fourth floor of Greenbelt 5, along with other restaurant favorites Kimpura and Jade Garden, is my favorite affordable steak place – the first ever branch of Chops Chicago Steakhouse. I used to come here a lot when it first opened, whether it be for their super affordable Power Lunches when I happened to be in the area or for date night before heading down to the cinemas at Greenbelt 4 or Offstage at Greenbelt 1 for a show. If you’re like me and dislike crowds, you can sneak away from the big, noisy groups that usually occupy the ground floor restaurants and head up here for a little peace and quiet… and maybe go through a bottle of vino or two.
I dropped by for a spot of lunch with Jericho and his sister to enjoy some of my old favorites. I’ve always loved the masculine vibe of the place – it is poised to be a gentleman’s steakhouse after all. The dark oak, dim lighting, leather furniture and all that whiskey stocked at the bar reminds me of the Godfather, with Marlon Brando in a corner somewhere, smoking a stogie. The only new addition to the table settings are the Pink Himalayan salt lamps, which add a softer, feminine touch to one’s dining experience.
Steak cuts can be a bit confusing, so the people behind Chops made it a lot easier to order by putting together a humongous steak platter for guests to pick out their choice of meat. They have everything from the filet mignon to the porterhouse and everything in between. The steak cuts also give you a good idea of the size of steak you’ll be served with, which gives you an idea of whether or not what you’ll be ordering is for sharing or good for one. I can hardly finish of the filet mingnon steak cut, so I consider all of them good for sharing!
To start, we split a salad of Apples & Arugula (₱320) – a mix of salad greens, arugula, smoked bacon, apples, croutons, and caramelized walnuts doused with a balsamic vinaigrette. The bitterness of the arugula along with the sweetness of all the other salad components was a nice start to lunch, and definitely a different flavor profile from your usual Caesar or cobb.
If you’re looking for something indulgent at Chops, I would suggest either their thick-cut Charbroiled Slab of Bacon (₱320) or The Bone Marrow (₱295). We opted for the latter that day, and the roasted bone marrow in a mildly sweet barbecue sauce served with toasted crostini and arugula balances the rich, sweet, and savory flavors that meld together for a multi-sensory dining experience which always leaves me wanting for more.
You can order your mains with a variety of sides, and believe me when I say they have so many it’ll make your head spin. We went the traditional route with creamy Truffled Mac and Cheese (₱180) and their Potato Overload (₱180), a baked tater with it’s insides scooped out, fluffed and topped with bacon bits and lots of melted cheddar. The other sidings you can choose from are Parmesan Creamed Spinach with Organic Egg (₱180), which is my personal favorite, Sautéed Green Beans (₱180), Beer Battered Onions (₱180), Parmesan and Garlic Fries (₱180), Soft Polenta with Parmesan (₱180), Smoked Bacon and Garlic Broccoli (₱180), Bacon and Bleu Cheese Salad (₱180), and Cardiac Rice (₱180).
Wanting to treat ourselves to something extra special, Jericho, Justice and I split an order of 21oz Snake River Farms Wagyu (₱3,850) charbroiled medium rare. One of their more expensive cuts, the grain-fed American wagyu is also called “butter knife beef”, alluding to the tenderness of the meat being so soft it almost feels like slicing butter with a hot knife. Or in my case, a fork. With my friends and I not being regular red meat eaters (we usually stick to vegetarian, chicken or seafood at home), there was still a lot of beef and marbled fat left over, which we took home to use as a base for the best fried rice!
While our steak was served with Beef Au Jus, you can also choose from a variety of sauces: the Chops House Made Steak Sauce, Mushroom Truffle Demi Glaze, Argentinian Chimichurri, Jim Beam Steak Sauce, Chicago’s Hot Whiskey Mustard, Chili XO Garlic Oil, Classic French Bearnaise, or Mixed Peppercorn and Brandy. I usually opt for the mixed peppercorn or hot whiskey mustard sauces, as I usually like my food on the spicy side, but with the more expensive cuts of meat all you really need is a pinch of sea salt to bring out the juicy flavors and a dab of horseradish.
When dining at Chops Chigago Steakhoouse, one mustn’t skip on dessert. More specifically, ordering Dark Chocolate Cigars (₱290) is a must. The classic Italian cannoli is given a dark chocolate twist, piped with a Bourbon mascarpone cream filling and dusted with white chocolate ash. “Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.” Yeah, the staff are probably sick and tired of hearing that line whenever they serve this dessert. You can pop one in your mouth and try to smoke it – I’m not entirely sure they have Cohiba’s or Gurkha’s in stock – but I suggest you take a big bite instead and enjoy the not-too-sweet chocolate-y treat.
While I prefer to pair my steak my steak with a bold bottle of red wine, most gentlemen enjoy their late dinner meetings with a glass of their single malt of choice or a bottle of their favorite lantern fuel.
Paying this gentleman’s steakhouse a visit after a few years definitely made me appreciate this place even more. If you ever get the hankering for your favorite cut of beef, charbroiled to utter perfection, with your choice of toppings, sidings, and sauces – then by Jove, you have got to head on over to Chops Chicago Steakhouse.
Chops Chicago Steakhouse is located at Level 4 of Greenbelt 5, Ayala Center, Makati City and is open daily from 11am to 11pm. For inquiries or to reserve a table, please call +63 2 945 8088 or +63 2 945 8188.