It first happened to me in Chicago. I travel around the United States a great deal, and I used to think of this as an opportunity to check out all the new chefs who get written and talked about. So at the end of a long day a few years ago in Chicago, I reached for my list of restaurants--but found myself wondering, Where I can get a good steak?
I was shocked by my own question. I have never been a big meat eater. But suddenly, because I was tired, or alone, or a traveler in America--or was it all three?--I really wanted a thick steak on a bone. I found it at an institution where locals gather to watch the Cubs. It was Chicago exactly the way it was supposed to be: The steak was rare, juicy and well aged. And the Cubs lost.
Now I have discovered that in Boston, Atlanta, Los Angeles, San Francisco, even Napa Valley, fashionable new restaurants are opening that call themselves chophouses. These places serve veal chops, lamb chops and pork chops, as well as steaks, often accompanied by classic sauces flavored with mustard, herbs or red wine. Roasts, stews and other hearty dishes featuring meat, chicken and fish are also staples on their menus.