Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood is even richer now that Truluck’s Seafood, Steak and Crab House has moved in. The Texas-based, white-tablecloth eatery is renowned for dining excellence and environmental stewardship. That, and Florida stone crab flown straight from the company’s own fisheries.
“Our specialty is primarily seafood with an emphasis on crab,” says Brian Wubbena, Truluck’s corporate director of culinary. “Stone crab is kind of the linchpin of what we do. We have our own fisheries and our own crab czars. The crab is always fresh and always from our traps to in-house within 24 hours.”
Truluck’s (named for a prized racehorse belonging to one of the owners) also dishes up premium steaks, scrumptious desserts and a world-class wine selection. Live entertainment takes the stage nightly in the Stone Crab Lounge.
Wubbena’s recipes are typically classics, created with old-school techniques. Some are hard to find on menus these days. Among the offerings: Oysters rockefeller, escargot, lobster bisque, Holland dover sole with blistered heirloom cherry tomatoes and shaved garlic, and bone-in center cut filet mignon.
Steaks are locally sourced and broiled at 1600 degrees, then served on a sizzling 500-degree plate with a roasted head of garlic. Toppings include bordelaise, oscar royale with caviar, and a mix of gorgonzola with housemade steak sauce. The chef’s special topping adds shrimp and blue crab to bernaise.
“We just try to take basic ingredients and present them in the best way possible,” Wubbena says.
The lounge is a stop all its own, either before or after dinner or during the weekday Social Hour from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. An appetizer menu showcases seasonal favorites and chef selections.
The house specialty cocktail, Voila!, (exclamation point included) is a fruity but not-too-sweet concoction of vodka, Chambord, fruit juice and cava poured over red raspberries. A pebble of dry ice ignites a fury of bubbles and smoke. Light and smooth.
The ambiance at Truluck’s is quiet elegance. The two-story venue is decked out in black granite floors, backlit onyx bar counters, mahogany millwork, leather-clad booths. A glass floor-to-ceiling wine cellar and dramatic staircase to the second floor add to the luxury. Jackets are not required for men, but business casual attire is advised.
Truluck’s opened its first location in 1992 in Houston and expanded to 12 locations in Florida and California before coming to Chicago.
While the brand may be new to the city, it is quite familiar to many Chicagoans. A 2016 American Express report showed about 57 percent of the previous year’s revenue at the Naples, FL, restaurant was generated by guests from Illinois.
Now, the rest of you must try it!
Truluck’s Seafood, Steak and Crab House, 41 E. Chestnut St., Chicago
Many thanks to Truluck’s Seafood, Steak and Crab House for hosting my recent visit. Feature photo by Truluck’s Restaurant Group.