Walker's Charhouse serves classic favorites, modern chops

  • Grilled rack of lamb is one of chef Ryan Gramit's specialties at Walker's Charhouse in Naperville.

      Grilled rack of lamb is one of chef Ryan Gramit's specialties at Walker's Charhouse in Naperville. Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Pasta a la Walker's at Walker's Charhouse on Gartner Road in Naperville.

      Pasta a la Walker's at Walker's Charhouse on Gartner Road in Naperville. Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Bone-in rib-eye and creamed spinach make an awesome duo at Walker's Charhouse in Naperville.

      Bone-in rib-eye and creamed spinach make an awesome duo at Walker's Charhouse in Naperville. Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Chef Ryan Gramit, left, and owner Bryan Werschulz, took over Walker's Charhouse on Gartner Road in Naperville earlier this year.

      Chef Ryan Gramit, left, and owner Bryan Werschulz, took over Walker's Charhouse on Gartner Road in Naperville earlier this year. Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Walker's Charhouse is a comfortable spot for steaks and seafood on Gartner Road in Naperville.

      Walker's Charhouse is a comfortable spot for steaks and seafood on Gartner Road in Naperville. Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Walker's Charhouse on Gartner Road in Naperville reopened with new owners and a new chef earlier this year.

      Walker's Charhouse on Gartner Road in Naperville reopened with new owners and a new chef earlier this year. Daniel White | Staff Photographer

 
By Jennifer Olvera
Daily Herald Correspondent

Don't get me wrong -- I like a good, old-fashioned slab of meat. But in these parts, steak joints pretty much are a dime a dozen. Mellower than most of its city brethren, Walker's Charhouse at 8 W. Gartner Road, Naperville, delivers on beefiness with hand-cut Angus.

As for its setting, expect something that's casual and Naperville-centric. To that end, there are town murals painted on the walls, no-frills booth and table seating and wood-paneled walls. I'd liken the vibe to a supper club-meets-Greek-restaurant.

Now under new ownership, with a new chef, the menu will nonetheless appear largely familiar to longtime diners.

You'll have to start, like we did, with the shrimp cocktail, which arrives with zippy, house-made cocktail sauce. We also went for another stalwart: hot, creamy spinach-artichoke dip, which we slathered on crostini. Both are standard fodder, but they're good. If you're so inclined, you can try the baked goat cheese, loaded potato wedges or mussels steeped in white wine instead.

From there, it's on to the meat of the matter. As such, there was no escaping the hefty, 18-ounce bone-in rib-eye, a richly marbled cut that went perfectly with its calorie-rich creamed spinach accompaniment. Other cuts include a filet in two sizes, strip steak cut thick and thicker and top sirloin.

Since Walker's ribs are one of its signature dishes, we decided to give them a whirl. The sweet-meets-tangy sauce got an update and while we couldn't compare them to the previous rendition, they were solid -- with just enough "bite," yet rendered tender.

Sides are standard, and they come with entrees. Expect the likes of fries, onion rings and garlic mashed potatoes. For an extra charge, there's asparagus and a loaded baked potato.

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Other options range from chicken Marsala topped with wild mushrooms to pretzel-crusted pork chops with dark ale mustard sauce, balsamic-glazed chicken caprese with tomato pesto cream sauce, bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin with pomegranate reduction and garlicky chicken penne in white wine cream sauce.

There are entree-sized salads, too, including one composed of grilled vegetables, candied walnuts and Gorgonzola. A handful of fish dishes are on offer as well, among them almond-crusted whitefish finished with lemon compound butter and lemon-dill salmon served with cucumber salsa.

We were pretty stuffed by the time dessert rolled around, but there's always room for a pucker-worthy Key lime tart. There's peanut butter mousse with chocolate sauce, too.

If you decide to come during lunch, know that it's a steal. Many of the same entrees are available at reduced prices. Plus, the lunch menu includes a variety of sandwiches and wraps.

Service is amiable -- in fact, it's not uncommon for the owner to visit your table. Then there's the bar, which is quick and generous on pours. Is this place reinventing the wheel? Definitely not. But it's rolling smoothly along.

• Restaurant reviews are based on one anonymous visit. The Daily Herald does not publish reviews of restaurants it cannot recommend.

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