Are you looking for a sexy brunch? Well, Chicago – you’re in luck. Hotel Essex’s SX Sky Bar delivers on that vibe, with decor details like chains hanging in the entrance and the provocative marketing tagline “everything leads to SX.” At night, the space turns into a 21+ club.
The restaurant opened in April and invited us in to try out their new brunch menu. I was excited to experience my first “adult-themed brunch,” and find out what exactly that entailed!
Walking into SX Sky Bar is like walking into an “Alice in Wonderland” tea party. The restaurant is adorned with funky couches and bright velvet oversized chairs. Chefs deliver plates balanced atop a golden gauntlet that would make Marvel’s Thanos jealous.
We were taken in with the eye-catching, larger-than-life bottle of Champagne on the back wall, a nod to their notorious “dominatrix” cocktail, a Dom Perignon brut bucket-sized cocktail that will run you a cool $669.
But don’t worry if that price makes you balk. SX offers bottomless mimosas, Bloody Marys, and bellinis for only $25. The names of many of the drinks keep with the subtle – and sometimes not-so-subtle – suggestive theme, with names like “let’s go bottomless.” While I wasn’t ready to commit to going bottomless, I opted for the bellini. The cocktail was refreshing and not overly sweet. In my time at “Bitches Who Brunch,” I’ve come to recognize good brunch drinks versus good bottomless deals. SX’s cocktails lie firmly in the middle of the Venn diagram of good tastes and a good deal.
Cam ordered a Corona to celebrate the nice weather. We had been seated next to the open wall, overlooking Millennium Park and were able to enjoy the sunshine and the view while perusing the menu. While the entire restaurant has a whimsical and airy feel, I do recommend getting a window table if you can.
As my quest for good Southern biscuits in the Windy City continues, I was excited to see “WTF biscuits” on SX’s menu. We agreed to share a plate to see if they could deliver on their name. The biscuits were plated beautifully, with berry jam and house-whipped butter artfully spread on the slate tray they were brought out on. Unfortunately for my craving, I’d classify these as “shortcakes” instead of biscuits, but that’s okay because I love shortcakes too! They were dense, warm, and buttery. I do recommend ordering them, but the quest continues.
For the main entree, Cam went with bacon and eggs. But not just any ole bacon and eggs, mind you, but braised pork belly with an over easy egg, dripping in bourbon maple glaze stacked on potato cakes. It blew any other bacon and egg breakfast out of the water. The pork fat was a hearty slab of meat, making it the star of the plate instead of an afterthought on the side. The meal was a nice mix of spice, savory, and a hint of sweet.
I ordered the chilaquiles, which came neatly stacked and plated with an artful drizzle. Again, the chef put his twist on a traditional meal. The chilaquiles featured duck confit, charred salsa, cotija, pickled red onion, an over easy egg, and layers of corn tortillas. I devoured my plate and poached a few bites of Cam’s dish to end the meal.
The Bitches say: four Champagne flutes.
This quirky, luxe brunch has ambiance, good food, and nice views. It’s the ideal spot for a romantic brunch date.
SX Sky Bar serves brunch Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.