Recess at City Hall is poking fun at government while providing a delicious brunch in West Town. Located just north of Fulton Market, Recess offers “fake knowledge” trivia on Mondays, testing your mastery of useless facts, and “ticket Tuesdays” giving discounts to holders of Chicago parking tickets. My boyfriend Alex and I were invited to check out the brunch menu.
Recess is the casual side of the City Hall event space (they were actually preparing for a wedding reception the day we brunched there!) with a large, fully stocked bar along one wall. Either end of the expansive space has a slightly elevated lounge area with leather couches and televisions. Exposed brick and giant industrial beams give the large space a relaxed vibe, and glass garage doors open onto a courtyard during warmer months. The courtyard looks like a fun time, with space for an outdoor bar and lawn games and cabanas. Seriously, if you don’t make it here this winter, you should definitely check it out next summer.
Recess paid a lot of attention to detail with their government theme. Their business cards look like social security cards, the menus come in manilla folders, and trivia night is advertised out front with what looks like a candidate lawn sign. Larger drinks for groups are served in a water cooler so you can catch up on all your friends’ gossip in true office fashion. It’s fun and different and I love it.
To start our meal, Alex and I ordered the “man-mosa,” which is a mimosa with bourbon. Let me tell you, this was strong. It’s also served Capri Sun-style… in a fun pouch with a straw and finger holes so you can carry the beverage around with you (great for patio and lawn game days). We should have stopped there, but the cocktail names were too fun to pass up. Alex moved on to “Royko’s revenge,” named after the famous Chicago newspaper columnist, Mike Royko. He’s known for writing a scathing negative biography of former Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley. This drink was smokey from the mezcal, spicy from jalapeños, and sweet from some added pineapple. In other words – Royko’s a winner in our book. I ordered the “alderman’s choice” with tequila and peppered watermelon syrup. The sweet watermelon flavor cut the aftertaste of the tequila, making it refreshingly smooth. Just over half of the cocktail menu can be made spirit-free or with CBD!
Onto the meal, we started with an order of pigs in a blanket. They were a little on the doughy side, but the pastry dough was fresh and the sausage was juicy. Cheese and mustard sauces were served on the side and I couldn’t tell you what the mustard sauce tasted like because I fell in love with the cheese sauce and stuck with it. You can never go wrong with cheese sauce.
Alex ordered the breakfast burrito, which was served perfectly sliced down the middle with sour cream and two types of salsa. Inside the burrito was juicy, crispy fried chicken, soft potatoes, chipotle mayo, and scrambled egg. The meal was satisfying. It’s a classic that Recess executes extremely well.
At the recommendation of our server, I went with the avocado toast with a fried egg on top. The toast was sturdy enough that I could pick it up to eat it, and the chimichurri added a fresh herb and garlic taste to the dish. I liked the crunch of the cucumber with the soft avocado, but I could have done with a more subtle vinegar flavor from the pickled red onion. I still really enjoyed this dish and would definitely recommend adding the optional egg to complete the meal!
The Bitches Say: Five Champagne Flutes!
Recess at City Hall has a great space for groups, excellent cocktails, and yummy food. If I enjoyed it this much in November, I can only imagine how fun it is when it’s warm!
Recess at City Hall serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays starting at 11 a.m.