Sunday, December 21, 2003

Another Great Mexican Sandwich
Green House Steaks at Maxwell Street

Probably the one inarguable aspect of Chicago chow, is that you can eat really, really well at the weekly open-air market, still called Maxwell Street--even if these days, it is on Canal Street running several blocks north and south of Roosevelt, instead of its old home near Maxwell and Halstead. In all the eating and discussion of Maxwell, few chowhounds have said much about Green House Steaks.

I am guessing, that in some ways, connoisseurs avoid Green House for a couple of reasons. First, all the stuff is well labeled in English, and maybe the lack of mystery makes it not as good. Second, they sell an eclectic group of food, that again seems a little less than authentic. There are fried bananas and Chicago Polish sausage and burrito's (about the only place in the Market with burrito's). Finally, you see everything frying away, and maybe the forward presence of so much grease scares people too. Only one thing has tempted me at Green House, terrific looking steak torta's. I finally tried today, and guess what, they were terrific.

More terrific than first appearances. What always got my eye was a sturdy toasted roll and fine looking steak. Under closer examination I learned that the total filling of the torta included thick cut bacon, steak slices, melted cheese, and well cooked onions and bell peppers. The whole mess gets a wallop of sour cream and several spoonfuls of a very California like green salsa--heavy on the tomatilla and cilantro. The Condiment Queen stated it a, whole greater than the parts, kind of thing. I just wish we ordered two as one of the Chowhoundita's ate most of the filing (including pretty much all of the bacon). Just another excellent Mexican sandwich in Chicago.

Green House Steaks has two stands at Maxwell, both well recognized by their long facade of frying contraptions facing the shoppers and their well labeled items, but as far as I can tell, only the more northern Green House stand has the torta's. In addition, Green House has an actual restaurant at 2700 S. Millard. The restaurant menu includes torta's, but nothing sounding anything like the cheesesteak-ish item enjoyed today at Maxwell.

The Green House Steaks
2700 S. Millard
Chicago, IL

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