Last week, I kicked off the Battle of the Brunches in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood, and showed off the good eats at Big Jones. This week: does Bongo Room have what it takes to beat Big Jones?
Right when we entered the restaurant, the Bongo Room impressed me with its bright space and modern look. The Andersonville location is the second Bongo Room restaurant in the city, and it’s quite new. There’s a nice patio out back too, though we chose to sit indoors (as my pasty and pale husband worried he’d burn to a crisp).
We kicked off our meal with coffee (okay) and a cappuccino – which unfortunately, was rather bitter, and came in a pretty small cup – sorry, a mug with the trendy “crinkle” look can’t make up for this. I even had to add some sugar to the drink, which I never do with my cappuccinos! Okay, so we were off to a slow start in this battle…
I had the chorizo potato and avocado omelet – it was very yummy (how can you go wrong with chorizo and avocado?), and served with a side of yet more potatoes – something different could have upped this dish, especially since the potatoes were rather bland on their own.
Hubby had the beef tenderloin and cremini mushroom Benedict. The generous portion of beef was very nicely cooked, and the eggs were perfectly poached. However, the side of potatoes was like mine – looked good but tasted bland.
I was initially excited to try Bongo Room because of the photos of creative and over-the-top pancakes and French toast plates I had seen online. So Hubby and I finished our meal with an order of chocolate French toast. We asked for the French toast to come later, after our savory dishes. I was only halfway through my omelet when the French toast arrived (sigh).
Slices of chocolatey bread were sliced thick (yay!), but there was only a hint of egg batter on each slice (boo). It was as if we were simply eating warm slices of chocolate bread. The dish was very filling, as the toast was surrounded by a ridiculously large amount of thick maple cream. At least you won’t go home hungry…
We had barely begun digging into the French toast when the check came. “Whenever you’re ready,” quipped the waitress. Did she open her eyes? We still had a giant plate of unfinished food in front of us. No, we were not ready!
Overall, Bongo Room’s food looked much better than it tasted – while the presentation was great, most things were underseasoned. Service was so-so and rushed at times. Bongo Room, you seriously need to up your game.
So, you’ve probably caught on already, that the Bongo Room has lost this Andersonville Battle of the Brunches. With good-looking but average-tasting food, and below-average service, our experience at the Bongo Room felt overpriced. There will be no return trip to this joint!