Feasting at Chicago Rib Shack, Aldgate East
Restaurant Review: Chicago Rib Shack, Aldgate East
Style Points: 3/5
Chicago Rib Shack in Aldgate East is not your typical American diner with red leather booths and squeezy sauce. This is a mixture between a diner and high end restaurant, with wooden square seating and quirky light fixtures.
What's on the menu?
Once seated, we started with cocktails, one Le Grand Fizz (pear flavour with a kick of citrus from the lime garnish) and one Chambord Royale with blackberry liqueur. Both cocktails were delicious and we were feeling warmed up and prepared for our meals.
Before our mains arrived we are equipped with Chicago Rib Shack bibs and wet wipes and the waitress playfully warns us along the lines of 'hair up, sleeves up'. Even though I went there hungry, I'm not sure I was quite prepared enough. This is serious business.
We started with grilled king prawns (butterflied and grilled with red pepper ketchup) tasted like they were well marinated and grilled to perfection, it's a refreshing change from prawns breaded and coated in thick breadcrumbs or batter and they were delightfully chewy and with a hint of garlic and chilli.
The crispy (creole strips with burnt lemon mayo) catfish was breaded but it was in a thin breadcrumb coating and the white fish inside was really soft, almost melt in the mouth, I thought catfish was going to be thick and chewy), I was pleasantly surprised. The prawns came with a slightly spicy red pepper ketchup dip and the catfish with a lime mayo which tasted similar to a tartare sauce and matched perfectly.
We couldn't decide on which Rib dish to choose so we found an option that allowed us to sample multiple options, and when I say sample I mean devour and when I say options, it felt like the entire menu once I was done. In came a meat board with four corners of the good stuff. Belly ribs, baby back ribs, beef ribs and shredded pulled pork.
Pretty much all of the meat had a deliciously sweet, sticky and smoky BBQ sauce but all with varying textures. I was convinced the beef would be our favourite but I was surprised to learn that the pork belly was the one with hardly any left on the bone. Must be all that fat making in that little bit juicier.
We ordered sides in the shape of perfectly made sweet potato fries (soft in the middle and a crisp coating) and dirty fries (skinny fries covered in chilli con carne and cheese)... what on earth was I thinking? A meaty side to go with all that meat? Yup, not the smartest move I ever made! It was flavoursome with a slight chilli kick, but I could barely finish anything and believe me I went there hungry.
Dessert? Oh no, not for me! I couldn't possibly, oh go on then but just a little bit! (Why do we do this dance every time?) It's a warm chocolate and marshmallow brownie served with vanilla ice cream and toffee sauce. It's so naughty but it tastes so good. I love that the marshmallow is melting and with the toffee creates that gooey-ness. It is quite heavy but it's meant to be and the ice cream on the side makes it go down a little easier.
The Oreo cheesecake (which has an Oreo biscuit base rather than Oreos mixed into the creamy topping), was served with whipped cream on the side, it was smooth, thick and creamy with that distinct Oreo taste at the crunch.
Could I afford to dine here again?
Our meal came to £35.75 each between two, (not including drinks) which is a little more than I would usually spend, however the meat board was a lot (like a lot) of food for me anyway, so if I replace that with a regular main such as pork belly ribs then it's more like £26 each which is decently priced.
It was great that the starters (prawns and crispy catfish) were so tasty and light, I think if we ordered the regular portioned ribs it might not have been as overwhelming as tackling the meat board of four different meats. I looked around and other people seemed very satisfied with their meals!
Although staff were friendly and helpful, I felt like they were possibly a little understaffed on my visit and were practically rushed off their feet.
However, if you want a hearty meaty meal in relaxed surroundings, Chicago Rib Shack has comfort food covered. Just don't be afraid to get a little messy!
Reviewed by guest writer Syeshia Sweeney. Thanks to Chicago Rib Shack for their hospitality.
Visit Chicago Rib Shack's website
Address: Wentworth Street, Aldgate East, London, E1 7AL
Closest Tube Station: Aldgate East