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Benny's Chop House all about the beef

Business clients, tourists mix in River North restaurant

Phil Vettel

June 20, 2011

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Benny's Chop House

444 N. Wabash Ave.

Reservations: Accepted, usually not necessary

Neighborhood: River North

Expect to pay: $70-$90 for two

Ambience: Clubby and masculine; cherry-wood paneling, thick carpets, double white tablecloth. Bar/lounge is sunny, less formal, popular with leisure diners and after-5 crowd.

Who eats: Mix of business clients, tourists, neighborhood residents.

Why eat: It's all about the beef, despite varied menu. And you can have a conversation without raising your voice.

Dress code: Business-casual for the most part; tourist-casual not unusual. They're not fussy.

Noise factor: So quiet you can understand the lyrics in the programmed music.

Menu: Big steaks, big everything. Top-quality, wet-aged (some dry-aged) beef, pasta, sandwiches and salads. Dinner menu also available at lunch.

Reliable option: All-natural prime filet ($35.99), when you're splurging. Entree-size burrata and heirloom tomato salad ($16.99) for dainty eaters; light-on-the-mayo lobster roll ($16.99) for in-between. Burgers are so big and piled with ingredients that polite eating is a challenge.

Service: Restrained and professional, with a tendency to hover.

Cellphone reception/Wi-Fi: Good reception. Free Wi-Fi available (ask for password).

Contacts: 312-626-2444; bennyschophouse.com; Twitter @bennyschophous