Steaks And More with A Sense Of Place On The Side

CHICAGO: WEBER GRILL, 539 N. State St., (312) 467-9696
The folks who invented the backyard kettle barbecue light a team of them at the new Weber Grill. Despite ample ventilation, a great smoky aroma lingers, enticing diners to the all-grilled menu. Inventive surprises like grilled tomato salad and beer-can chicken join backyard favorites like grilled corn on the cob, hamburgers, and generous steaks. To best survey the action, snare a booth opposite the open Weber-lined kitchen.

FORT WORTH, TEXAS: THE CHISHOLM CLUB, 222 Main St., (817) 210-2222
Grady Spears, cookbook author and founding chef of the popular Reata restaurants, dishes cowboy cuisine in downtown Cowtown. Named for the Texas-spanning cattle drive route, The Chisholm Club proffers hearty trail food with Spears’ signature flare — beef rib-eye with buttermilk onion rings or porterhouse pork chops with cabbage braised in Texas port. When not manning the eatery’s open kitchen, the chef teaches the art of the grub in an adjacent demo kitchen.

LOS ANGELES: DRAKE’S VENICE, 23 Windward Ave., (310) 450-7055
Sporting both a ceiling-suspended gondola and a surfboard on the wall, Drake’s Venice plays up the Italy-in-California theme on which the oceanside community was founded. But the new steakhouse inside the old St. Mark’s Hotel eschews the gilt Old World for beach-casual new. From Delmonico steak and Angus fillet to steak tartare with quail egg, the menu is all-American but for linguine with clam sauce, a Venetian homage. —