Amidst the relenting heat wave and joined by three of my best guy pals, this Bitch dined on upscale European inspired brunch at Nellcôte in the West Loop. The restaurant was inspired by Villa Nellcôte, a the french chateau where the Rolling Stones recorded “Exile on Main Street” in the 1970s. This historical tidbit unknowingly made it the perfect spot to dine before my friends headed to Pitchfork music fest in Union Park.
Known for its opulent atmosphere filled with crystal chandeliers and velvet tufted couches, the restaurant is surprisingly casual, especially during brunch hours. Although we didn’t dine outdoors, the lush garden patio looks perfect for a romantic brunch with a front row view of bustling Randolph Street.
After a late night prior, we wasted no time diving into Bloody Marys, a St. Germain pitcher, and a charcuterie share plate. The share plate featured a delicious brioche roll with raspberry jam, shaved prosciutto, and local sheep’s milk cheese from Pleasant Ridge Farms. The menu at Nellcôte is sourced from local farms, which always adds a few bonus points in my book.
Before we ordered, the waiter informed us that Nellcôte is the only restaurant in the country that mills its own flour in house. The mill house on the lower level creates dough for their famous fork and knife pizzas, pasta entrees and rich breads. Personally, I was a bit disappointed our table wasn’t greeted with an overflowing bread basket after hearing this information. Upon request, he recommended the Lobster Hash and Breakfast Sandwhich as the top two items on the brunch menu. Unfortunately, after a quick trip the kitchen with our order, he returned with the disappointing news that the Lobster Hash was sold-out.
To replace the Lobster Hash, Brendan decided on the fennel sausage pizza. The stand-out ingredient was hands down the oyster mushrooms. Thick crumbled pieces of fennel sausage complimented the heavy mushroom flavor. The pizza was the perfect size for one very hungry man and was topped with light tomato sauce, parmigiana, and mozzarella.
Daniel and Eric both decided on the Eggs ‘En Cocotte’ dish, which essentially means ‘eggs in a skillet.’ The flavor reminded them of an Italian dinner entree with its rich tomato sauce mixed with chili flakes. The skillet dish was topped with spicy Italian sausage, large chopped olives and two eggs sunny side up. The consistency of the dish was more like a thick pasta sauce than a breakfast scramble. Both guys really enjoyed it, however, it tasted a bit too much like dinner for my brunch tastebuds.
I took the waiter’s recommendation and ordered the breakfast sandwich, because this Bitch knows you can never go wrong with a classic breakfast sammy! The thick cut canadian bacon was topped with an American cheese omelette folded in half to fit on the Portuguese muffin. The Portuguese muffin was quite different from your typical English muffin or croissant. It was very thick and heavy, similar to a condensed hamburger bun. Although I prefer the flakiness of a croissant, the house-made muffin made the classic sandwich more memorable than others. On the side were the most delicious fried potatoes I’ve ever had. The melt-in-your-mouth potatoes were covered in endless layers of crispy goodness, probably some of the best breakfast potatoes in the city of Chicago.
On a sunny day post-brunch, head to Expat on Green Street around the corner. The bright al fresco pop-up restaurant shares a kitchen with Nellcôte and sister restaurant RM Champagne. Expat knows the essentials, serving only a few raw bar dishes paired with cocktails and boozy sno-cones. Including our favorite, the rosé sno-cone!
(Photo cred to Expat on Green)
The Bitches Say: B. After being denied the famous Lobster Hash, we were impressed with the Italian brunch cuisine, in-house flour mill, and locally sourced menu.
833 West Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 432 – 0500
Nellcôte serves Brunch every Saturday and Sunday starting at 11 a.m.