Friday, January 6, 2012

bongo room

blogger's note || so let's see what stuff i have to catch up on
summer 2011 :: bongo room brunch, coffee republic in folsom, sable kitchen brunch (this is way delayed i know >.< )
fall 2011 :: brunches at jam and kanela breakfast club, ramen at slurping turtle, dinner at morso
last month :: sola brunch, restaurants i tried in lousiana and korean inspired recipes (about 4-5 of them) as well chocolate molten lava cake and crispy salmon dish i made.

i promise you there are a lot of stuff that i need to write about. let's catch up with the really late posts that i was supposed to write about months ago starting with bongo room :p good thing i take notes after my visits ^^

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i met with two of my friends from florida for brunch since they were in chicago for the weekend for their friend's wedding. i haven't seen them for ages and i had to find a few good brunch places for them to choose from. i know chicago has an extensive list of brunch places - one of which i suggested was bongo room in south loop (the other one is in wicker park) which had more than a few rave reviews on yelp and urbanspoon. 

so i was going to take the bus to get there and i was waiting for a good half hour before the bus came by. i got on, paid my fare and took one of the seats near the exit door. but then, the most ridiculous thing happened - enough to make me tweet angrily about it:



so yeah, that was exactly what happened. i sat there, clueless and confused. i wasn't the only one confused cos there were a couple of people waiting at the bus stop peering in, searching for the bus driver. i even wondered if he was going to have breakfast at panera and how long i would have to wait. i got more antsy with each passing minute cos i was already late. thank goodness he came back a couple of minutes after with a coffee cup in hand. i have to add that he wasn't exactly the best driver either and hoped that i didn't have to get on his bus ever again.

so i thought this was that one rare occurrence but apparently i was wrong when i read this response tweet by @kristainchicago, author of the blog passportdelicious:


i laughed a lil bit when i read this. well, i guess at least he offered to buy her a hot dog from 7-11.

anywho, as i got to bongo room, it wasn't quite what i expected. from the outside, it looked like the place was an unfinished space. as i entered the restaurant, i had trouble maneuvering myself around the small waiting area was very packed because it was raining outside. the wait was expected to be around an hour. i really hope that the food was worth the wait and started to feel bad for recommending this place because of the long wait and i didn't even know if the food here was good.


the decor inside was a lot better than i imagined from what i saw outside. it was quite cozy actually. we were seated at the corner of the restaurant where there was a colorful checkered wall that i really like. in fact, one of my friends had a shirt that matched the wall and we chuckled about it for a bit and he took a photo with it which turned out really nice. it didn't take long before our server came by and took our order.



shrimp, avocado and feta benedict  | two toasted english muffins topped with poached eggs, shrimp, avocado, and crumbled feta with parsley, chive pesto hollandaise sauce, served with hash browns ($14.95)


xy said this dish was alright but was far from being impressed. both of his poached eggs were overcooked though where the yolk was completely cooked through. i am not sure what to think about brunch places that overcook eggs.

BLT benedict  | two toasted english muffins topped with poached eggs, grilled canadian bacon and classic hollandaise sauce, served with hash browns ($13.95)


i asked E what he thought about his choice and i could tell he wasn't too ecstatic about it either. he only finished half of his dish and the rest of the bacon. he says that he usually eats smaller portions and more frequently but i think he was just being really nice lol. and yes, both of his poached eggs were also overdone. xy joked that at least they were consistent - to which i add, consistent not in a good way? regret started to seep into my mind since i suggested this place.

red velvet hotcakes | chocolate-y cocao flavored hot cakes with warm vanilla creme and toasted crushed walnuts ($9.50)


this was a huge serving of red velvet pancakes. i have to say it was probably the best dish we had - texturally it was pleasant albeit slightly more dense than i am used to. it was a lil heavy and could have definitely used a lot more of the vanilla creme since there were so much hot cakes. however, i was left craving more chocolate flavor that they promised in their description. at least L enjoyed it and so did the rest of the table. the walnuts were a good textural contrast from the soft pancakes and creamy vanilla creme.

chorizo omelette | chorizo, queso fresco and avocado omelet served with hash browns



another huge plate of food and kinda overwhelmed a lil bit by the generous portion. the omelet was light but it was too salty from the chorizo. but it was mellowed out a bit by the creamy avocado and the queso fresco. my vote for it was not bad and overall had a good flavor profile but could have shown a little more restraint. i really liked the hash browns especially with the tomato ketchup.

while the service was quick to take our order, it took us a while to flag a person to get E a clean fork since he accidentally dropped his on the floor. it came to the point that he gave up and went up to the counter to ask for it. but they were quick to remove plates from under our noses and to give us our check. i guess they were in a hurry to get us out of there to bring in more diners.

our consensus was that bongo room was not worth the wait and i question the hype for this place. maybe, i am not so much for a breakfast/brunch places with super sized portions of food which i thought was average and inconsistent across the table. (i'm rather picky when it comes brunch places since i prefer lunch over brunch most of the time) oh, who can forget the overpoached eggs? perhaps, i ordered the wrong dishes but i don't think i would return a second time to wait another hour to test out that theory.

oh and to top it off, you know what.. i took the bus home cos it was drizzling and it was the same driver from this morning.. sigh. what a day. (i guffawed at the irony and absurdity of the situation actually..lol)

disclaimer this is written based on my personal experience and opinion. experiences and taste buds may vary for others

Bongo Room on Urbanspoon

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