Good food and crappy service, does not a meal make! [Chicago Chophouse review]

Calgary isn’t the mega food mecca that one can hope for when booking projects. That being said Alberta AAA beef is a very good standard of beef … which makes for excellent steak eating here in Calgary. After a couple weeks in Calgary, I can say that the steaks here are very good, but will not beat Argentina for quality, price and value of phenomenal steaks or even parts of Brazil.

On Stephen Avenue, there is a litany of higher end steak houses, and my goal is that by the end of my project, I would have had the 10 best steaks in Calgary to compare to steak around the world. (Note : I’ve been harangued by my Canadian friends about my lack of love for Canadian Beef)

The list of downtown steakhouses I’ve tried or will try are the following (I’m not going to try Ruth Chris or the Keg, since I am intimately familiar with what their food tastes like and honestly they’re like McDonalds … it all tastes the same regardless of where in Canada you are)

CHARCUT Roast House
Carver’s Steakhouse

Saltlik Steakhouse
Palomino Smokehouse
The Bank Restaurant
The Trib
Chicago Chophouse
Caesar’s Steak House

Paul’s Pizza & Steak House

The first on the list of reviews will be the Chicago Chophouse (Wednesday 28th, 2011 , 8:45pm)

So we get into the restaurant and the place is almost completely empty … yet I had to wander around waiting for the 3 girls at the desk or the counter to acknowledge my paying presence. She actually asked me if we had a reservation in an empty restaurant – this bitch was dead to me already and we hadn’t even gotten our a drink as yet.

The service started negatively and continued on a horrifically downward trend. At the price point of this place, I would expect a smile with some water to start … but that didn’t happen. When you review the menu, you have to KNOW that the steak is literally JUST a steak. No veggies or sides, no nothing but a 40$+ price point.

Notice the large slab of meat on the far right hand corner … that was a 14oz Cowboy Rib Eye, but the plate is empty aside from that … know why??? Because you have to order your sauce and sides all separately … and even the menu is organized like a Horse’s Ass (not in a good way, mind you!)

That being said …  the atmosphere was nice, even though it felt like an upscale sports bar …

Getting back to the ultra shitty service – it took a while for our server to come after we were served our food, I asked for hot sauce and some water, but we never saw her again until after most the food was gone.

More importantly … the waitress who sat at the counter filing her nails, or scratching the AIDS off her head or whatever she was doing, didn’t even have an inkling of how to serve a god damn dram of scotch.

I asked for a dram of Glenmorangie Port 18, after all this nonsense and this is what followed

<Rishi> Can I have a dram of the Glenmorangie 18?
<Dumb bitch waitress> Which one is that?
<Rishi> The one that says Glenmorangie with the Orange Label (points at it …)
<DBW> Are you sure that’s Glenmorangie? Is that Scotch?
<Rishi> … holding back rage and spit … yes it is scotch …
 (A couple minutes pass)
<DBW> Here you go sir …
<Rishi> Are you going to bring some water with it?
<DBW> Why?
<Rishi> Because you don’t serve any single malt scotch by itself, but with water on the side. Have you never served scotch before?
<DBW> No most people order Soda and some wines …
<Rishi> Well consider yourself educated …
 (A couple minutes pass)
<DBW> Here is the water sir .. (She brings cold ice water)
<Rishi> Well you obviously have no clue … I’d ask for you to bring some room temperature water, but I think you might just fall and piss yourself and the water, if you had to do anything else. Go away and bring the bill and if I have to wait … you can pay for the 300$ meal yourself.


The food was quite decent and my very well done Rib Eye (I asked for it like that) was quite good. Everyone was happy with their food, but the service was dogshit.

Slow, inattentive and unknowledgeable service. Decent food. Extremely high prices = Completely not worth your time.

Chicago Chophouse
Stephen Avenue 604 8 Ave SW, Calgary, A2B T2P
Phone (403) 265-3000
Hours Mon-Thu 11:30 am-11 pm, Fri-Sat 5:00pm-2:00am, Sun 5pm-11:00 pm
Chicago Chophouse on Urbanspoon

About Rishiray

Rishi Sankar is a Cloud HRMS Project Manager/ Solution Architect. Over the past 15+ years, he has managed to combine his overwhelming wanderlust with a desire to stay employed, resulting in continuing stints with 3 major consulting firms (IBM, Deloitte, Accenture). He documents his adventures around the world on "Ah Trini Travelogue" with pictures and stories from the road/tuk-tuk/camel/rickshaw. You can follow him on Twitter at @rishiray and on Facebook at "Ah Trini Travelogue . He doesn't like Chicken Curry but loves Curry Chicken and is always trying to find the perfect Trinidadian roti on the road. He also doesn't like cheese and kittens ... and definitely not together. E-mail from his blog is appreciated like a 35 yr old Balvenie at

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