Save for its name, there’s not much to link Gibsons Italia to its well-established sister steakhouse. “We knew if we were going to do something here, we couldn’t just roll out another Gibsons Steakhouse,” says Gregg Horan, director of operations and a managing partner of the restaurant group. “It wouldn’t make any sense.”
Instead, Gibsons Italia has carved out its own niche within Gibsons Restaurant Group (Quartino Ristorante, Hugo’s Frog Bar), offering tenderly prepared dishes in a stylish, unfussy setting with a knockout river view from the majestically situated River Point building off Canal and Lake streets. Vivid abstract paintings by Chicago-based artist Lydia Cash and cheerful music by Vampire Weekend and Purity Ring, framed by upbeat service, provide a sense of conviviality that pairs seamlessly with lush pastas, an ample wine list and world-class steaks.
Particularly in that last category, Gibsons Italia diverges and, in some ways, improves upon the original. Here, unlike Gibsons Steakhouse, there are silky slivers of wagyu sirloin, making Gibsons Italia one of 16 restaurants in the nation to offer the highly sought-after A5 Japanese kobe steak ($35 per ounce). The Rush Street porterhouses aren’t missed when there are Australian bone-in filet mignon ($60) and short-rib brasato ($31) taking their place. No matter which tender cut you select, have it with the bearnaise or the tangy steak sauce and a side of flash-fried shishito peppers ($12).