There are so many places in Chicago that I still haven’t tried even after years of living here. One of those places is River Roast. River Roast is a beautiful restaurant located in River North overlooking the Chicago River right at eye level. Upon entering the restaurant we were escorted to the main dining room, which is downstairs. On this particular Sunday, the dining room was quite full, thanks to the “Blues and Brunch” taking place at the downstairs.
Chris and I were excited to eat and were seated at a lovely table right by the window, overlooking the river. It was, thankfully, a gorgeous Sunday after a full week of rain. Chris and I really loved the interior of River Roast; rich and rustic, with wooden barrels and table tops adorned with vases of lavender. The band was playing jovial and familiar music that complemented the relaxed atmosphere perfectly.
Having never been to River Roast before, the hubby and I were anxiously eyeing everything on the menu. River Roast is known for its contemporary American fare; most notable for the restaurant’s perfectly roasted selection of meat, fish, and vegetables carved tableside.
To start, Chris and I ordered two coffees, a mimosa, and one of the restaurant’s signature Bloody Mary, complete with a ginormous skewer of cheese, charcuterie, and vegetables. The Bloody Mary was delicious, as were the mimosa and coffees.
When it came to food, Chris and I were exceptionally gluttonous. Having never been to River Roast before, we had no inclination as to how large the portions were and we ordered with hungry eyes. To start, I couldn’t resist ordering the golden goblets which were seasoned fried chicken bites served with honey.
Additionally, I also had to try the shrimp and crab toast. Both of these were excellent choices. The fried chicken was delicious, with a hint of paprika and other spices paired perfectly with the sweet honey. The shrimp and crab toast, though, was divine. Fresh and light, even my shellfish-hating husband enjoyed these.
For entrees, we decided to order the rabbit and waffles, and one of the cast iron skillets; my personal favorite brunch item, chilaquiles. When the plates arrived at our table, we were almost embarrassed at how much food we had ordered. Almost.
The rabbit was fried to a golden perfection, and the waffles were soft and fluffy. I knew rabbit was game-y, but I forgot how much so. It was rich, and while delicious, I could only enjoy a few bites. Meanwhile, Chris was there licking the meat right off of the bones.
The chilaquiles were another story. They were possibly the best chilaquiles I had ever had. Mind you, they were huge. This cast iron skillet is not for the faint of heart or those who aren’t looking to fill up at brunch. They are huge, and definitely meant to be shared, but there is nothing wrong with taking boxes home for leftovers.
Each bite of the chilaquiles was a cheesy, spicy bit of heaven. The pulled chicken was delicious, and the toppings really rounded out the meal. I will probably have many more chilaquiles at brunch this year, but I really did love the dish so much that I will be comparing any other chilaquiles to this dish.
I also ordered a side of housemade sausage (regrettably, considering how much food we had ordered). But since I was coming to eat where the meat experts do their thing, I figured I should try as much of it as I could. It was as delicious as you would expect; perfectly seasoned and well-rounded.
River Roast is a delightful place to brunch, especially with its live blues performances. With summer around the corner, we highly suggest adding this to your “must visit” list. After wandering to the bathroom, I stopped to peek at the restaurant’s gorgeous private dining areas; one room is a private large room with its own riverside patio enclosed, perfect for hosting the ideal bridal shower!
I must also mention that the staff is delightful and you can tell they go above and beyond to ensure their guests have a memorable experience. Our server, who happened to be French, was a delightful gentleman who was happy to walk us through the menu and did not judge us for the absurd amount of food we ordered. Additionally the manager stopped by our table to say hello and chat with us about what makes River Roast so unique. It is no surprise that famed Chicago restaurateur and James Beard award-winning Chef, Tony Mantuano, has executed another great restaurant. He also suggested some of the craft cocktails that we need to try on our next visit, which I am very much looking forward to.
The Bitches Say: A+. River Roast is a delightful and charming restaurant that is ideal for celebrating any and all occasions. With craft cocktails, seasonally inspired, and soul-warming menu items, and one of the most beautiful scenic views of the river, River Roast is enjoyable any time of the year. And, although meat dominates the menu, it is definitely veg-friendly!
315 N. LaSalle St. Chicago, Il
River Roast serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.