Sunday, June 29, 2008


65 East Wacker Place
Chicago, IL 60601

I had a really good date at Morton's once. It was probably the least impressive steak I've eaten in Chicago (David Burke's, Keefer's, and G&G are preferred), yet the meal also included probably the best desserts I've ever had in my life: the Grand Marnier Souffle and the legendary chocolate cake.

My feelings on the establishment before our burger trip, therefore, were one hundred percent 50%. We had actually intended that day to go to Saltaus for their lamb burger, but (surprise surprise) Saltaus no longer is in business. This makes at least to my knowledge three places that have closed since the Time Out list first came out (and Hackney’s can’t even get a mention??? 70 years STRONG IN THE GAME).

So, miniburgers it is. Show us what you got. Going to a respectable restaurant strictly for the purpose of downing miniburgers automatically puts one in an uncomfortable position for two reasons (1) One worries about offending/disappointing the staff by only ordering the piddliest thing on the menu (this is all probably exacerbated by my paranoia over reverse ageism and the fact that I often look like crap when hitting up restaurants right after work), and (2) As with any low-priced item at a somewhat higher end spot, one must be continuously vigilant about any “strings attached.” Like, what sort of drink special do I have to order to reap the benefits of the miniburgers? At what not-quite-dinner time do I have to arrive to obtain the miniburgers? Where am I allowed to sit if I want to eat miniburgers as a single item?

As I’ve gotten on in years I realize that I would pay a flat fee just to avoid all of this nudging and handwringing. Thankfully, Morton's gave us none of that business. We took a seat at the bar, were treated like adult homo erectuses, allowed the happy hour menu of burgers at half price (I think we ended up paying under 20 bucks apiece for burgers, [overpriced] beers, and fries), and were given no odd looks. The burgers were fine--probably the least greasy beef miniburgers we've tried so far. I lamented the fact that miniburgers really shouldn't have so much lettuce on them (seems like filler), and Nat quickly reminded me that he had complained about the Poag Mahone's burgers being too barren. There is truly no pleasing us.

The only conundrum was that Nat ordered the bleu cheese fries, and I the regular fries. As the bleu cheese fries constitute a separate dish during bar menu time (or whatever), Nat actually received more fries than I did, for the same price. All of which means I could have ordered bleu cheese fries--"hold the cheese"--and received more fries. This scenario is truly the Monty Hall Problem of the Chicago Burger Project. All in all, the experience really gave a good vibe on Morton's, and I think it is my new 100% foolproof Loop option during happy hour-ish time.

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