Since its opening mid-summer, I have been hearing awesome things about Bad Hunter, the West Loop’s veg-friendly American hot spot. Chris and I finally decided to check it out one gloomy, snowy Sunday.
Bad Hunter is located right in the heart of restaurant row on Randolph Street. Currently, the restaurant’s door is framed by an insulated chamber, to ensure cold Chicago winds don’t gust through the front door. Upon entering though, you would have no idea that there was even a bit of snow on the ground, let alone below-freezing temps and cold rain outside.
Bad Hunter is warm and welcoming. The vibe is very relaxed and inviting. Pebbled stone tables, ceramic mugs, and plants everywhere you look add to the earthy vibe of this spot.
Chris and I were seated in the back at a four top table. Our server came to greet us and we promptly ordered coffee. I also opted to try one of the cocktails on the menu. The gorgeous bar has an extensive variety of boozes behind the counter, and the cocktail list sounded too delicious not to indulge in one.
I opted for The Joker, a green concoction made with Owen & Alchemy’s elixir 01, Rhine Hall La Normande, Hank’s vodka, Vida mezcal, honey, lemon, jalapeño, and ginger. It was spicy and tangy, with a hint of sweetness. Light and fresh, it was just the kind of cocktail I love.
To go with my beautiful green libation, I ordered a matcha green tea croissant to start with. I love anything matcha flavored, I must admit. The croissant was delicious; full of flavor and perfectly flaky.
For entrees, the hubby and I decided to be adventurous and just order a few things to share. Being the cold and snowy afternoon it was, I couldn’t resist ordering the sourdough bread porridge with walnut butter and poached pears. Doesn’t that sound like the ideal, stick-to-your-ribs goodness perfect for warming you up on a cold day? I thought so, and our server agreed, stating it is her favorite brunch item.
For some savory items to add to the mix, we ordered the butternut squash polenta with fried eggs, and the bacon and radish cake Benedict.
The porridge was delicious. Definitely a dish that will fill you up—this dish was heavy and hearty in all the right ways. The pears were poached perfectly and the walnut butter added a sweet and earthy flavor to the dish. We loved it.
The butternut squash polenta came beautifully presented, with the polenta serving as a bed to the fried eggs and crispy kale, bathed in harissa and preserved lemon. This dish was delish. The polenta was silky and creamy, and paired perfectly with the egg yolk and the crispy kale. The preserved lemon added a bitter saltiness to the dish that I thoroughly enjoyed. Chris was able to finish it in about three big bites, so I was lucky to have snuck a taste before he devoured it all.
The bacon and radish cake Benedict was also really yummy. While Bad Hunter is a veggie-enthusiastic restaurant, there are in fact meat items on the menu and used to create some of the dishes.
When we dove into the bacon and radish cake Benedict I found myself needing some clarification on where the bacon was hiding in the dish. While I enjoyed the dish, I was unsure if the cake was made from radishes and if it was supposed to taste like bacon (which it did not). Had I overlooked the bacon? After pondering the question, I ended up asking our server, and she explained that the cake itself had bacon fat in it to flavor it like bacon.
Like I said, I enjoyed the dish, and after it was pointed out, I noticed the smoky bacon flavor. I guess I was just missing the actual bacon. Nonetheless, it was interesting and delicious; the Hollandaise was unique as well.
Bad Hunter is a great addition to Restaurant Row. A unique concept centered around highlighting the plants that are such an integral part of the menu—it definitely sets itself apart from the many meat-centric restaurants in West Loop nearby. I will definitely be looking forward to coming in for dinner and next time I will have to try the Bad Hunter burger!
The Bitches Say: A. A well executed veggie-enthusiastic menu and an gorgeous interior make Bad Hunter a new favorite of ours. This is definitely a brunch spot you want to check out in 2017!
802 W. Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 60607
Bad Hunter serves weekend Brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.