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Nellcôte Caters to Carb Cravings, But The Coffee’s Weak

There’s bread and beauty to be found here, but the whole shebang comes up short.

Bagel and lox at Nellcôte   Photo: Carrie Schedler

The shtick: A carbo-load in a marble-coated French villa.

The vibe: Nellcôte gets its name from the Rolling Stones’ legendary hideaway in the South of France, and the look here is appropriately over-the-top: lots of marble, lots of airy curtains, chandeliers. The look leans toward excess, but the clientele—mostly thirty-something women with excellent blowouts—keeps it a little more restrained. 7 out of 10.

The food: The menu seems to straddle the line between being the pseudo-light-and-healthy spot the sunny space dictates and focusing on carbs in all their glory (part of Nellcôte’s thing is that they grind flour on site and serve housemade breads and pastas.) This is how you end up with both a roasted baby beet salad and a maple-bacon doughnut on the same brunch menu.

Our orders veered toward the bready: said maple-bacon doughnut ($4), fluffy but flavorless inside; the bagel and lox ($14), which could have done with a more even toasting on the bagel; and the sunnyside-up egg pizza, which was straight-up delicious and hangover-quashing. But for a place where the flour’s supposed to steal the show, the breads left us wanting. 6.5 out of 10.

The drinks: For a potent twist on a standard, the Nellcôte Bellini ($10) swaps syrupy peach puree for lighter (and lovelier) St. Germain and botanical vodka. But the spot commits a cardinal sin: The coffee’s way too weak. Three cups later, our caffeine headaches still lingered. 6 out of 10.

The service: Everyone was very beautiful, very well-dressed, and very, very relaxed. The whole experience was so chill it bordered on overchill—we would have appreciated our server taking a stronger stance when debating what to order rather than a wishy-washy “everything’s really great.” 7.5 out of 10.

Overall: It’s indulgent excess—but it’s not a stand-out. 7 out of 10.

833 W. Randolph St., West Loop, 312-432-0500

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