Ladies Who Brunch

Waffles by disastercouch
November 27, 2011, 4:39 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Oh, the one-word named Brunch place.  Nothing says “We are a family friendly but style conscious breakfast eatery” like a name that evokes a single breakfast staple:  Yolk, Jam, Toast, Orange, and of course the ultimate: Brunch, recently opened in River North.  What separates Waffles from this pack?  Unlike the above listed establishments, which all serve the full range of breakfast items, Waffles pretty much sticks to the promise it makes in its name:  this place specializes in Waffles, Waffles of all shapes and sizes with all kinds of toppings.

They do have a small collection of non-waffle based items — you could get an omelet here, or, I imagine, the two eggs, bacon, and hash brown breakfast that boring people seem unable to live withou — but seriously, when in Rome, order waffles.

We tried three variations, which ranged from the inexplicable to the sublime.  The short rib and cheddar waffle, which called out to me from the menu as a siren calling out to Odyseuss, was a big dissappointment.  The braised short ribs themselves were quite tasty, if a touch on the dry side, but the cheddar was severely lacking; instead of the gluttonous pile of melted cheese I had hoped for, the dish was garnished with a few stray crumbs of cheese — not even proper shreds but literally little crumbs.  The waffle itself was supposedly cheddar infused — again, bitter disappointment.  Visions of the breakfast equivalent of Cheddar Bay biscuits danced in my head, but I must say there was no discernible cheddar taste.

Another savory waffle combo, the house variation on eggs benedict, was greeted with much more success.  Two waffles topped with pork carnitas, nicely poached eggs, and hollandaise — the key to success here was the use of sweet waffles as the base, which took this from what might have been a mundane but palatable benedict to the level of iconic item, the best sweet-savory waffle combo since chicken and waffles.

Still, our hands down favorite was the over indulgent breakfast-as-dessert Red Velvet waffle.  Visually stunning, bright red waffle battered, cooked to cakety-crispety perfection, liberally dolloped with an unholy hybrid of cream cheese and whipped cream, and a sugary macerated red fruit jam.  I generally count myself amongst Red Velvet haters, perhaps having sampled one too many uninspired RV cupcakes, but this was the proof of concept my taste center had been waiting for.

I pretty much don’t recommend visiting the South Loop, but in case you wake up one day and find you live in one of those horrible plain vanilla high rises around 14th street, you could do worse for breakfast.

Waffles.  1400 S Michigan Chicago, IL 60605. (312) 854-8572.  Open daily 8am-3pm.  $18-22 per person.

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