The name Urban Chophouse makes a great pun. It’s urban, in that it’s close to downtown, located in Luxe 23 in the Short North. It’s also Urban, very Urban, in fact, with lots of Coach Urban Meyer’s portraits adorning the walls. He’s the theme, and the chophouse seems to be thriving, despite the coach’s departure to Jaguars country and subsequent adventures that have been widely publicized on social media.
The Urban (person) theme is mixed with other elements that set it apart from the sports bar area. Example: sparkling chandeliers. The place is upscale and luxurious in a glamorous, image-conscious way, with a menu to match, including steaks, seafood, and sushi.
Surrounded by our urban surroundings (this is a personal contribution to the montage pun pile), it makes sense to go full chophouse-themed with a steak.
Low end buy point would be a 7 oz Filet mignon at $49. It’s a nice cut, usually with a characteristic tenderness that usually doesn’t require a lot of fussing. At Urban Chophouse, the tenderloin is finished with butter and a definite salty accent, making it difficult to fully appreciate the quality of the steak. He is a detractor. On the bright side, the steak is nicely plated, and for an extra charge you can add extra sauce like bearnaise or bordelaise, and formal sides like asparagus or bacon.
The urban experience doesn’t have to be so expensive. More satisfaction can be found in other menu options.
Let’s take a step back and mark some Deviled eggs from the start of the menu, in the small plates section. Carefully crafted and expertly nested (eggs served in a nest!), $11 buys four halves, each topped with its own shrimp in sauce. This combo feels suitably chic and luxurious and special. Granted, the differences in texture between egg and shrimp mean that it can’t be gobbled up easily. It’s a win, though: a thoughtful eating strategy provides more opportunities to appreciate the richness of the combo.
In the sushi menu, you can score traditional rolls ranging from California to spicy tuna. the Shrimp Tempura The offering ($16) succeeds with its cracked shrimp rolled with avocado and cream cheese, topped with a mild soy wrap and accented with eel sauce.
There are also decent salad options. The chop ($14) would be the thematic choice. It’s a loaded collection of greens, cucumber and corn with heft of avocado, salami, feta and sunflower seeds, bound with a lemon-basil vinaigrette. While a salami-corn combo might not be an intuitive fusion, overall the elements fit together well.
There is more to discover: burgers, pizzas, pastas. And the drinks menu includes a selection of classic wines and beers, plus trendy Instagram-friendly cocktail concoctions, including a giant Shellytini that serves “up to” six drinkers and spiked strawberries.
The Urban Chophouse, 1079 N. High St., opens at 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. On Saturdays and Sundays, it opens at 11 a.m. with a special brunch menu.
For more information, visit urbanchophouse.com.
All photos by Susan Post