The shtick: Hearty, pan-Latin fare just off the well-beaten Randolph Street brunch path.
The vibe: “Do people not know this place is open for brunch?” This was the overarching question of our visit, as in the span of an hour and a half, only two or three other tables filled up in a restaurant that’s usually slammed in the evening. A shame. The room’s still cool and chic in the daytime (tin ceilings, exposed ducts, and lighting that’s not too bright, a bonus depending on what kind of Saturday night you’re coming off of), and its Latin accent is just as charming as it is in the evening. The spots that were occupied were mostly taken up with couples, and while there was a group toting a stroller or two, it’s not an ideal place if you’re bringing along young ones (unless your kid has a penchant for chilaquiles and kale.) 7 out of 10
The food: La Sirena’s roasted mushrooms ($12) fall into a category of brunch dishes that’s quickly becoming one of our favorites: “things you dunk toast into.” The crispy grilled housemade foccacia serves as an effective conduit to get the perfectly poached egg yolk and sherry-tinged stewed mushrooms to your mouth. The texture’s on point, and the bread-to-dipping-stuff ratio is well calibrated, too. Feijoada ($16) is a good way to ensure you won’t want to eat at any point between brunch and dinner, as it’s a sizable bowl packed with protein in the form of beans, beef, and (duh) a fried egg in addition to rice and salsa. Don’t skip the baked breakfast empanada ($4), which, when filled with bacon, onions, and cheese, is what every ill-advised Hot Pocket wishes it could be. 8 out of 10
The drinks: Great La Colombe coffee brewed plenty strong ($3) starts things off. Be sure to take a pass through the brunch cocktail list, though—their Peruvian twist on a Bloody Mary ($9) with pisco and (of all things) some mighty bracing Fernet Branca deserves your sipping attention. 7.5 out of 10
The service: Mostly pleasant, chatty, and on it. (A minor quibble: Drink refills seemed to come slower and slower as the meal wore on.) 8 out of 10
Overall: This brunch is great, and more of you should be eating it. 7.5 out of 10
954 W. Fulton Market, West Loop, 312-226-5300