CHICAGO (WLS) --Since 1941, the venerable Gene & Georgetti has been a purveyor of steak, and the loyal, local clientele loves it. But lamb chops have also been a consistent menu option, and here, they use only domestic lamb, which has more flavor.
"It's because of the feed. Domestic lamb they're using grain - which is corn - in Australia and New Zealand they're using grass so it's a different flavor profile; definitely more gamey," said GM Rich Ciota.
They're butchered on-site, quickly trimmed of fat and "frenched" which exposes the rack. Then they're sliced into individual chops, seasoned with salt, pepper and oregano, and broiled at high heat. Served with discs of fried potatoes, they are a meaty, slightly gamey classic in every sense.
Just a mile away, in the Gold Coast, the new Maple & Ash is another temple of beef, albeit quite a bit fancier. Downstairs, a more casual vibe prevails, but lamb is served in both spaces.
"The upstairs lamb is the rack of lamb, we serve on the dinner menu, and the downstairs is chops of lamb," said chef Danny Grant.
Grant trims the chops, seasons them simply, then grills them over hardwood, occasionally brushing them with fresh thyme and rosemary.
"The most important thing is getting awesome product. We've got that, we get them from Catalpa Grove Farms down in Dwight, Illinois," he said.
The lamb is served with charred cherry tomatoes and a salsa verde, containing mint, parsley, capers and a bit of Dijon, lots of olive oil and a little bit of garlic.
"I think lamb is a lost soldier a little bit, I guess. For me, it was always one of my favorite things coming out at parties and served at my house," said Grant.
Old school, new school, doesn't really matter. High-quality lamb chops prepared very simply are always delicious. The big question is either knife and fork or hands?
Not only are both versions of those lamb chops excellent, they are quite a bit less expensive than buying a steak.
Maple & Ash
8 W Maple St, Chicago, IL 60610
Gene & Georgetti
500 N. Franklin St.
9421 W Higgins Road, Rosemont