The shtick: The “it” destination for ladies who brunch—and shop.
The vibe: By now you’ve visited, gotten the scoop from a friend, or at least read about Brendan Sodikoff’s/Hogsalt Hospitality’s unlikely newish brunch, lunch, and wine boîte, unconventionally located within RH Chicago (that’s Restoration Hardware’s fancy-pants flagship).
On our weekday visit, it teemed with fur-clad Gold Coast gals and girlfriends with babies. No denying that the space is lovely in a ritzy hotel lobby kind of way. Yet seating is problematic: Lounge on one of the couches and you’ll end up with a salad plate teetering on your lap; sit at a four-top so large that it’s tough to hear your cross-table companions; or dine at a fountainside table-for-two like we did and prepare to be deafened by the sound of rushing water (and get sprinkled, too). 6.5 out of 10
The drinks: Bellinis graced many tables, but we opted for “tea service” ($6) and received our chamomile-mint Rare Tea Cellars tea in most extravagant fashion: an ornate kettle and a strainer contraption that required us commoners to ask for a tutorial. A little chichi, but fun nonetheless. 7 out of 10
The food: While this is certainly a brunch destination, you’ll find limited options in the line of traditional a.m. food. Delicious whole milk yogurt with caramelized banana slices and chunky housemade granola ($9) was pretty and surprisingly memorable. Conversely, while we’d heard much ado about the RH Scramble ($9)—ultracreamy slow-scrambled eggs topped with snipped chives and flanked by a half avocado and buttery Texas toast—it was sadly one-note.
We went more lunch-y with our other selection—fancy grilled cheese with truffle butter on housemade sourdough ($13). This was undeniably satisfying, but (unlike the other dishes) overpriced. 6.5 out of 10
The service: Overall fine, but since Sodikoff’s spots have a rep for running like well-oiled machines, we were surprised by the hiccups we encountered. The host quoted us a 40-minute wait and we seated in five. Our server, while amiable enough, tended to vanish for painfully long periods. Definitely doesn’t measure up to the high bar set by Bavette’s, Au Cheval, et al. 7 out of 10
Overall: Throw on some bling and join the scene—the food won’t blow you away, but you’ll have a total out-of-Chicago experience. 7 out of 10
1300 N. Dearborn Pkwy., Gold Coast, 312-475-9116