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Half Sour Brunch

Have you ever heard of a half sour? I hadn’t either until just the other day. Turns out a half sour pickle is a dill pickle that was not left in the brine long enough to fully ferment into a sour pickle. It also turns out to be a new cafe and bar in the Printer’s Row area of Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood.

Half Sour resides at the corner of Clark and Polk, just down the street from the historic Dearborn Station. Printer’s Row is an area I particularly like to visit every once in awhile as it’s continuously growing and developing. The area was also incredibly significant in the development of the city and is rich in history.

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I had read about Half Sour a few weeks prior and was instantly interested after looking over the Jewish deli inspired menu. It wasn’t too difficult to convince a friend to join me and off we went on a Saturday morning.

We arrived early, around 10am, and were pleased when we were seated instantly. It was a very rainy Saturday morning and it seemed that the weather was deterring other from visiting. As soon as we had finished our meal though I noticed that the space was full!

We each ordered a glass of orange juice, as we sat down, and my friend ordered a cup of coffee as well. Half Sour brew’s Dark Matter coffee, another one of my favorites. Our friendly waitress gave us a few moments to mull over the menu and make our decisions.

I had been committed to the Bagel and Lox since first looking at the menu weeks before, but I also considered the Pastrami Sandwich. Ultimately, I stuck to my gut and decided on the Bagel and Lox. My friend debated between a few items on the menu as well, but eventually ordered the Smoked Salmon Benedict.

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Our dishes came to the table and we both gasped with excitement. Typically, deli’s don’t pay too much attention to presentation and rely more so on the strength of the solid history of their food. But this deli absolutely nailed the presentation.

My Bagel and Lox was delicious. The menu allows you to select from your choice of bagel, schmears, protein and extra toppings. I selected an Everything Bagel, with Scallion & Chive schmear, Lox, and tomato, onion, capers and avocado to top it all off. I was not the least bit disappointed in my selection. Different from a traditional bagel and lox platter, this one came to the table pre-assembled and I was in favor of this choice. The lox were incredibly fresh and the Everything bagel was wonderfully savory but did not over power all of the other flavors in the mix.

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The Smoked Salmon Benedict, happening on the other side of the table, definitely took the flavor award at this brunch. It was prepared with two poached eggs, avocado, Hollandaise, mixed greens, served on top of two crispy Latkes.

I think this dish might have to go down as the best Benedict I’ve ever had. The Lakes absolutely stole the show. They allowed for a consistent flavor across the entire dish, in comparison to a traditional Eggs Benny made with an English Muffin, where the muffin is crispy in some spots and softer in others. The Latke also maintained the perfect amount of savory paired with the smoked salmon.

The Bitches Say: A. Half Sour is an excellent option for a relaxed brunch in the South Loop. The atmosphere is relaxed, the service is friendly and the menu will never go out of style. We can’t wait to go back to tryout the full-day menu.

Half Sour serves brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 9AM – 3PM.

Half Sour
755 S. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60605
(312) 224-1772

Julie Strand

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