For those of you that are Friends lovers, Beatrix is the slightly more refined, commercialized version of Central Perk. Every so often, restaurateurs use a River North address as an excuse to jack up prices or skimp on service. Beatrix doesn’t succumb to that mindset: the restaurant is surprisingly reasonable, friendly, and down to Earth. The relaxed, low key vibe is coupled with artisanal coffee drinks, slightly better than average pastries, and farm-to-table cuisine. However, Beatrix is good, but falls just short of being great…here’s why.
The Chicago Bitches—Amber, Jacqueline, and I—decided to get to get our brunch on at Beatrix one Saturday morning. My afternoon was blocked off and dedicated to house-hunting, so we were forced to find somewhere that opened before 10 a.m. Luckily, we were able to snag a 9:30 a.m. reservation at Beatrix.
None of us went down the cocktail route, perhaps it was the ‘I should still be sleeping’ time slot, but we did try a couple of their non-alcoholic offerings. Jacqueline ordered the cappuccino and I had the vanilla latte. Both were frothy and hot, as most espresso-based drinks should be.
Their list of fresh juices was impressive. Amber ordered the blue juice, which sounds like something you drink at a college bar, but was just the opposite. It was thicker than your ordinary fruit juice, but not as heavy as a smoothie. It was a tasty version of what you’re forced to drink on a juice cleanse – the flavors of blueberry and basil were pleasantly refreshing.
After we had our daily fix of vitamins and caffeine, it was time for sugar. I love a fresh brunch pastry almost as much as I love a Gucci sample sale. However, I struggle with the battle of eating healthy vs. indulging. I try to balance out the caloric snacks by working out…but finding the time can be tough. Earlier that week I signed up for The Pursuit, which is a new spin class offered by Equinox. It’s an intense cardio spin sesh that challenges you and motivates you. I must say, I was a huge fan of the jams that were being played. The combination of good music and competition was the perfect mix. One of the major drivers getting me through the class…a brunch pastry, of course!
The waitress at Beatrix, who was sweet as could be, mentioned that all their pastries were exquisite. We went with the lemon blueberry muffin, which was lackluster, unfortunately. The flavors were fairly generic; similar to the pre-bundled muffins they sell in a Mariano’s six pack. The pastry bar at Summer House puts Beatrix to shame.
Up next, we focused on our mains. Jacquelyn ordered the spicy chicken tingas. This decent-sized Mexican dish was seasoned just right, and the spices were flavorful without being overpowering. The eggs, delicately cooked over easy, were floating on top of the shredded chicken. You know how corn tortillas can be dry and flavorless? These were anything but— they were light and moist.
In an effort to keep up the healthy eating, which was kicked off by her glass of liquid nutrients, Amber went for the egg white omelet. The egg whites were contrasted with a colorful and generous helping of red and yellow tomatoes with hints of avocado. While the white cheddar got a little lost, it wasn’t terribly missed. The bacon was crispy, and balanced well with the veggie-covered egg dish. You could easily replicate this meal in your kitchen at home, so it’s not one I’d suggest running out for.
I’m not a huge breakfast-sammy gal, however, the oven-roasted tomato and egg white sandwich caught my eye. Two ingredients stole the show—the broiled olive-oil-marinated tomatoes and the toasted pillow-like brioche bun. But the eggs, Havarti cheese, and wilted spinach/kale (seemed like arugula) were unmemorable. It almost came off as if the sandwich was sitting under a warmer, a minute too long.
The Bitches say: B-. Beatrix may be cute and cozy with inexpensive entrees; however their house-baked treats are nothing to rave about, and their cuisine falls just short of taking brunch to the next level.
519 N Clark St., Chicago, IL, 60654
Beatrix is open Saturday and Sunday for brunch at 8 a.m.-2 p.m. and Monday – Friday from 7 a.m.-11 a.m.