Walking through the Gold Coast, you’ve surely passed the vibrant patio scene outside of the new Viceroy hotel. On most warm – and even warm-ish – days, Boka’s new venture is packed with brunch-goers who are drinking Aperol spritzes until they’re convinced it’s summer. Somerset is one of the most festive and summer-y destinations around, brightening up this otherwise gray and dreary Chicago spring.
Somerset invited us in to try the brunch menu, so I ventured up with my friend Katlin on a recent Saturday. The weather was sunny and chilly, but the patio looked like too much fun to sit indoors. If you do go on a colder day though, don’t be disappointed. The indoor décor is an airy “country club-inspired” space with high ceilings, wood paneling, leather banquets, and an all-around warm-vibe.
The day we brunched happened to be the Kentucky Derby, so the crowd was sprinkled with pastel dresses and big hats. To celebrate, we ordered a blueberry julep, plus the aforementioned Aperol spritz.
The julep was comprised of knob creek rye 100, blueberry lemon and mint. It was on the sweet side – but it worked. The crushed ice and mint sprig felt festive and the drink was sweet and refreshing. The aperol spritz was ginormous! Still, it was a light and refreshing, tasty patio drink.
We started with the cinnamon roll, frosted with vanilla bean cream cheese. Like the Aperol spritz, it was also enormous. We were a little bit surprised to find that it was served at room temperature. I think it would have been more delicious had it been served warm, but I must say that they nailed the frosting to cake ratio and the cream cheese was delicious with prominent vanilla flavors.
Katlin ordered the fried chicken and French toast with sriracha honey and whipped butter. The chicken had just the right amount of batter, but the meat was a little on the dry side. The sriracha gave the dish a nice kick.
I ordered the avocado toast on sourdough. Instead of sunny-side up eggs, I asked for scrambled. What they brought was not exactly scrambled – I think maybe it was a fried egg? So I skipped the egg, but the avocado tasted fresh and delicious. It was presented as more of a spread – like a guacamole – topped with cayenne pepper over thick toast. The salad was a nice light supplement to the toast.
Overall, we enjoyed our experience. It definitely felt like a mini vacation away from Chicago. The restaurant’s patio vibe feels more like Miami or The Hamptons than is does Chicago. Because it’s so busy, prepare for a leisurely pace. Our brunch was about two hours beginning to end, which I think is probably typical on busy days.
The Bitches say: four Champagne flutes!
This trendy Gold Coast destination feels like a little brunch vacation.
Somerset serves brunch Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.