It’s always wonderful to have an effortless and delicious brunch on a weekend, but it’s even more wonderful when you get to share the experience with someone.
A couple weeks back, I was invited to come in and try brunch at Roanoke on the house. Roanoke is located in The Loop and I rarely have a reason to go downtown, so I was excited to be outside my normal surroundings.
Roanoke is located in the old lumber exchange building on Madison Street. The building is historic, and enormous. Case in point, the building now is home to the largest Residence Inn by Marriott in the country—impressive. Roanoke is on the Madison Street side of the building, and receives lots of business not only from the hotel above, but from all the businesses nearby.
When Cameron and I arrived at 10:30 a.m. on this particular Saturday morning, we were greeted by Anthony. Anthony is the head waiter and was gracious and thrilled to be hosting us. He made us feel right at home, as did the other staff and chefs who I had a chance to meet. As Cameron and I were taking in the decor, and ambiance, Anthony regaled us with menu recommendations, with the history of the building, and gave a thorough overview of the restaurant.
Cameron and I felt we were in such great hands that we figured it would be best to have Anthony bring out whatever dishes he felt would best highlight what makes Roanoke a unique and worthwhile brunch destination. He certainly chose the premiere dishes for us try.
To start, Anthony suggested Cameron and I try the blood orange mimosa, and the toast and jam cocktail. Now, don’t let the appearances fool you as neither are for the faint of heart. The blood orange mimosa was a considerably strong drink with prosecco, blood orange liqueur, and a splash of orange juice. I loved this cocktail, and sipped on it throughout the meal.
The toast and jam cocktail was Knock Creek rye, hibiscus syrup, grapefruit juice, and lime juice. This cocktail arrived to the table, looking like a Sex and the City Cosmopolitan, but with one sip, it proved to be anything by a cosmo. It is robust and took the duration of our meal to finish.
As an appetizer, Anthony brought us the hand rolled cinnamon rolls with brown butter cream cheese icing, and fresh berries. The buns were delicious layers of perfectly cooked dough, cinnamon, and sugar. They were then topped with brown butter cream cheese icing and fresh berries. The icing added a bit of weight to the dish, both in texture and flavor. The cinnamon rolls are certainly meant to be shared, and I was content after finishing one.
Next up with the griddled jumbo lump crab toast. I am a crab cake enthusiast, much like my co-editor Alexis, and I always picky when it comes to crab in the Midwest. This entree blew my expectations out of the water—it was outstanding. The crab is the spotlight of the dish, and was topped with pickled onions, tomato, hard boiled egg, avocado, capers, and sat atop an egg drenched slice sourdough bread. The Louis remoulade on the side was like a savory aioli and pulled the ingredients together. It was incredible.
Anthony then brought Cameron and I the ribeye hash with prime rib, sunnyside eggs, avocado, roasted poblano peppers, onions and Texas toast on the side. This was a delicious, and heavy dish. I could only handle a couple bites, as I knew we had more food coming but also, I ate my fill with the lump crab toast. The ribeye hash was delicious, and the Texas toast on the side made it easy to have all the ingredients on a slice of toast to enjoy them in one bite.
Finally, the pièce de résistance was the porchetta eggs Benedict. The dish was rotisserie roasted porchetta, poached eggs, Hollandaise, oven-dried tomatoes, and roasted breakfast potatoes. The porchetta is cured and roasted for two days and truly melts in your mouth.
It was extraordinary. For all the eggs Benedict lovers in the world, this could quite possibly be one of the best eggs Benedicts I have ever had, so certainly this has to be tried at your next brunch outing.
Last, but certainly not least, was the chocolate mousse with a Mexican brownie with cinnamon and ancho chilies. The mousse was light, airy, and smooth. The chili pep from the brownie offered spice and a unique element to the dessert. I am a chocolate mousse fiend. I will make a special trip to Roanoke just for the mousse.
While Cameron and I may of been hosted by the restaurant for this brunch, I would say without a doubt that the service, and food we were shown was standard and that they take care of every patron the way that we were cared for. Roanoke was a wonderful surprise and I am so happy I took the time to go and brunch at this gem.
The Bitches say: A+. Roanoke has set my bar for 2017 in service and thoughtful entrees. When you go for brunch, try the eggs Benedict, the jumbo lump crab toast, and the mousse. And for cocktails, try them all!
135 W. Madison St.
Chicago, IL 60602
Roanoke serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.