Sometimes when a restaurant is gracious enough to host us, they offer the option of letting the kitchen decide what to serve. This gives the chef an option to show off his/her favorite dishes along with the more popular choices.
After the amazing success my boyfriend, Cam, and I had trusting the kitchen at Joe’s Imports, we decided to give it another go at Bobby’s Lincoln Park with Chef Augie. After assuring him we had no allergies, or – more importantly – no aversions to drinking alcohol first thing in the morning, we sat back and waited for the treasures ahead.
I felt like Belle during the “Be Our Guest” dance number of Beauty and the Beast.
We had arrived early enough it wasn’t crowded, but if you have a large group, Bobby’s has an expansive and beautiful dining room. It has glittery chandeliers, an impressive bar, and spacious seating. But what caught my attention was the lush plants along the patio, so we elected to sit outside on a nice summery day.
Out first came two glasses of sparkling rosé with a plate of oysters. This delightful combination is known at Bobby’s as the “bubbles and pearls.” We had a combination of oysters from the East coast and Mexico that were fresh, briny and delicious. I had never had oysters for breakfast, but this has permanently put them on my brunch list.
After we finished slurping down our oysters, we were served the zucchini and quinoa cake with a poached egg, micro-greens, lemon zest, and herbed yogurt. Again, not something I would have organically picked out myself, but trusting the chef, we gamely dug in. The entire plate was summery and fresh, with the quinoa providing a crisp cake to soak up the runny yolk.
But what stole the show for me was the Chilean Sauvignon Blanc that was paired with this dish. The wine had complex flavors and brought out the lemon zest in the meal. If I went back, this is what I would order.
The fun doesn’t end there! Next came the braised short rib Benedict, on English muffins with a chipotle hollandaise. My experience with braised short ribs stems from my mom’s valiant but bad attempts with a slow cooker (sorry, mom). But Bobby’s managed a flavorful, moist meat that wasn’t wood-like at all (sorry again, mom). Along with the Benedict came a side of potatoes, peppers, and onions that were also divine. This plate came with a local, organic APA beer from LaGrow. Cam and I are both big beer fans, but even if you’re not, this was not too hoppy and was easy to sip while eating.
We alerted the chef we were beginning to slow down, but he insisted that we try the croque madame, and I was not going to argue! I’ve been having a renaissance with croque madames since my River Roast brunch and am always happy to try another. I equate these meals with my college roommate, Becca. Bobby’s croque madame was very traditional, a sourdough sandwich with prosciutto cotto and gruyere, topped with an over easy egg. It tasted like a nice hug feels. I’d definitely go back on a blustery fall day for this meal. It came with house-made cottage fries as well, that were nice and crunchy.
We had to end on a sweet note after so many delicious and savory dishes, so the kitchen sent out the French toast. All morning, Cam had mentioned he had a sweet dish craving, and this knocked the ball out of the park. The brioche bread was topped with almond syrup, fresh farm berries, shaved almonds and whipped cream. The berries provided a tart burst of flavor, adding complexity and depth to the sweet dish. To pair with the dessert, we were each given a glass of the “full monte” cocktail. This has amaro Montenegro, rye whiskey, and bitters. I was hesitant because I am not usually a whiskey drinker, but Chef Augie promised the pairing with the sweet dish was divine. While it didn’t convert me, if you like whiskey, you will adore this cocktail and pairing.
The Bitches Say: Four Champagne Flutes
Bobby’s Lincoln Park balances familiar, cozy dishes with expert knowledge of pairings and flavors in a way that will leave you hungry for more (and a little tipsy).
Bobby’s serves brunch Saturday and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.