A Tale of Two Steakhouses in Illinois — A Modern Day Horror Story

1-2 April 2017

I headed out of Chattanooga and back to Birmingham, where I took the last flight out to Chicago. Yep, this three-headed trip started in New England, then the Deep South, then to the Midwest. A great look at Trump’s America… I had a long day in the Chicago area and scooted out west and closed the day in the Rockford area.

I was hungry and planned to be at a place called Josef Steakhouse & Oyster Bar. Not many choices in town, and this didn’t start too well as it was basically empty when I arrived. I happily sat in their “wine bar” section on a hi-top.

An okay martini in hand before the starter arrived…


Beets…yeah… This actually looked less disgusting in the darkness. Very boring taste. After the beets I had in Providence at Persimmon, this is just awful. Sigh… Oh well, I’m here for the steak anyway.


Huh? This is a 16oz ribeye? It was cooked pretty well and tasted good, but this lollypop look always tells me they trimmed excessively — probably post-weighing. Really disappointing stuff. And considering this is one of the most expensive steaks I’ve had in the past few years? This thing was $68. Yes, you read that right… This is Rockford. Rockford.

I voiced my displeasure and my poor server had to be the go-betweener with the kitchen and higher-ups. Management was rather rude at the end too, which bodes poorly for this place. Ridiculous. AVOID!!!

The next day I had a long trek through eastern Iowa beating the ugly storm into the Quad City area. Tonight’s stop is Moline, on the south side of the Mississippi River. Next to my rather charming hotel is another steakhouse that I hope proves to be better, Bass Street Chop House.

I got there early and was given a booth near the bar. Already happier, more old school here, not trying to pretend to be hip like last night. I enjoyed a so-so martini and ordered. A bottle of wine tonight as hotel was across the street, so no worries…

I enjoyed some of the wine and a bowl of the boring free soup before the steak arrived…now this is more like it!

smoked ribeye

Sorry, I had to cut into it for the temperature before the photo; it does not look like this out of the kitchen! But a good steak, the size was far more accurate! This ribeye was smoked slightly, so that gave it a nice little touch.


Some corn and spinach and it rounded off the evening. Compared to last night’s steak it’s a huge difference. This was 18oz compared to last night’s 16oz. No way the difference was only 2oz. What a joke that place in Rockford is…

Anyway, dessert was just finishing up the wine. It got a bit busy in the bar area so I thanked my server and meandered back to the hotel. Long day tomorrow, trekking down the Mississippi into Missouri before heading back to Chicago to fly home the next night…

Not a bad steak, but these small city steakhouses are always going to disappoint in some way. Tonight was far better, so that’s fine. But with Josef the night before? Avoid, avoid, AVOID!!!

Josef Steakhouse & Oyster Bar
6860 Spring Creek Road

Bass Street Chop House
1601 River Drive
Moline, Illinois

PS: AVOID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


One thought on “A Tale of Two Steakhouses in Illinois — A Modern Day Horror Story

  1. Pingback: Review: Silver Star Steak Company | melhuang1972

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