Chicago Chop House: This old-school gem has its formulas down pat. This is especially true of its classic-leaning appetizers, harkening both to Americana nostalgia as well as timeworn techniques and flavors from France and Japan. We’re talking sushi-grade yellow fin tuna, Kobe beef carpaccio and freshly shucked Blue Point oysters.
Mastro’s Steakhouse: Sure, Mastro’s has beef carpaccio, oysters, caviar and even steak sashimi. But what sets this meaty Mecca apart is its full-fledged sushi program. Developed exclusively for Mastro’s by chef Angel Carbajal, this stuff is high-quality. There’s seared albacore tuna sliced sashimi-style and topped with ponzu and freshly shaved black truffles; thin slivers of hamachi come with Mexican green onions, truffle salt and ponzu-truffle oil; and the “clear lobster roll” features spiny lobster tempura with mango, avocado, spicy mayo and masago, finished with lobster sauce and curry oil.
The Grillroom Chop House and Wine Bar: In the heart of the Loop, this gussied-up throwback peddles an abundance of fresh, raw dishes to kickstart a meaty meal. Try the exemplary tuna tartare, which features saku tuna chopped finely and precisely before getting a sweet soy glaze, a dash of spicy miso aioli and avocado and wonton chips. Oysters on the half shell are also particularly good here, sourced from both the East and West Coast, served with Champagne mignonette and housemade hot sauce.
Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House: Tartare, carpaccio and oysters are all well represented at this Gold Coast bastion. For tartare, it comes either as tuna or steak, while the carpaccio is actually delicately seared rare Wagyu that gets accompanied by a dainty and beautiful salad of baby arugula, shaved artichoke, capers, Parmesan and Creole mustard aioli.
GT Prime: For raw fare that skews contemporary, look no further than GT Prime. This River North stunner opens its menu with a bang, featuring a shareable appetizer selection chock full of surprises. Try the beef carpaccio, for instance, here adorned with sliced foie gras for added decadence, along with a spritz of lemon, arugula and Parmesan. Tuna crudo gets a bit of heat from fresno chilies, along with pistachios and oranges for a complex and wholly unique presentation. The beef tartare is essential, bedecked with tangy mustard seeds, malt vinegar chips and egg yolk.
The Grill on the Alley: Most of the appetizers here are raw, and all are worth the splurge. This includes the ahi tuna tartare with avocado, mango and cucumber, the shrimp cocktail, the seared tuna sashimi and the classic, perfectly prepared steak tartare.
RPM Steak: Perhaps one of Chicago’s quintessential steakhouses for raw delicacies, RPM Steak boasts a dedicated section of its menu to raw dishes. While there isn’t a ton of options, it’s definitely a matter of quality over quantity here, and the plates speak for themselves. Bluefin tuna ribbons come with onion jam and wasabi, while a spicy plate of hamachi and avocado gets a hit of fresno pepper and spicy soy. Then there’s the hand-cut steak tartare, adorned with a quail egg and blue cheese toast.