Leave it to New School restaurateur Brendan Sodikoff to invent a sexy, French-focused River North steakhouse. But Bavette’s is ultimately so much more, giving its River North steakhouse counterparts a run for their money. The spacious, bi-level eatery feels intimate with dimly lit rooms, mismatched reclaimed furniture and a sultry soundtrack that makes you want to stick around long after you’ve dined. It’s the fifth project in his little empire (There’s also Au Cheval, Gilt Bar, Maude’s Liquor Bar and Doughnut Vault), and offers a distinct personality of its own.
Ideal for dates or group outings, the restaurant should be considered for full dinner or an evening of cocktails. Must-do starters include plateau de fruits de mer, seafood towers lined with fresh lobster, shrimp, oysters and more. All prime aged steaks are accompanied by béarnaise sauce, and top chops range from a classic 10-ounce flat iron steak paired with frites to a 24-ounce prime bone in dry aged ribeye. Sides, of course, come separately and are recommended to share. Cole slaw—topped with champagne vinaigrette—plus pomme frites, creamed spinach, baked sweet potatoes and loaded mashed potatoes are highly recommended. Shortrib Stroganoff, buttermilk fried chicken and the double-bone Berkshire pork chop remain non-steak standards.
Bavette’s beverage menu, of course, concentrates on French-focused elixirs, including fine sparkling wines, beer and wine. The cocktail program embraces classic sparkling wine cocktails (French 75, Kir Royale), the Sazerac and a few whiskey-based drinks.