Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Signature Room or On Top of the World

The Slow and Savory Review
Our Ladies have been longing for a true Chicago brunch experience, and this week, that opportunity was presented to them in the form of a very special summons. The very affluent and very influential socialites Barry and Blanche Black (dear friends of Our Ladies for many, many years) extended an invitation to Bunny and Brandy to join them at the Signature Room on the 95th floor of the John Hancock building. There, they were told, a fabulous brunch buffet was prepared every Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 to 2:00, and for a flat fee of $45, one could partake in any number of palate pleasing plated provisions.

The elevator ride up to the restaurant is enough to make any tourist squeal with joy at the sheer speed and quantity of ear pops. Sadly, upon exiting the lift, Our Ladies and guests found the famous view from the 95th floor obscured by dense fog. “Is there anything you can do, dear?” Bunny asked Blanche politely. With a wave of her exquisitely bejeweled hand, Blanche simply stated, “It shall be done.” A few moments later, the sun poked its head out from behind the clouds, revealing a spectacular landscape of skyscrapers, lakeside coast line, and bustling city streets. The interior of the Signature was just as stunning, boasting huge art-deco styled chandeliers hung from impossibly high ceilings ("Ah!" Bunny cried, "reminds me of my prom."), exceedingly well dressed tables, and a live piano player playing a live piano live. The staff were very warm and friendly, especially a happy-go-lucky busser name Gabby who could do nothing but smile at every table he passed.

A round of mimosas was ordered before the party “hit the buffet” as they say. Our Ladies reported being overwhelmed by the wonderland of choices before them. To the left, a raw bar, set up with fresh oysters, crab legs, shrimp, and three kinds of caviar, as well as selections of sliced salmon, herring, and five seasonal salad choices. To the right, the dessert table, presented in proper high tea fashion, was laid out with cakes, cream puffs, strudels, and cookies, as well as a vat of home made ice cream. Moving forward brought them into a circular space which housed the breakfast proper. Starting from the left, there was a table dressed with breakfast pasties, such as filled croissants, small muffins and mini bagels. Next came bowls of fruit; pineapple, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, melon and the like, all presented with fresh, house made yogurt and shinning granola, to be mixed as one pleased. Beside that stood a young man, ready to make omelets to order with any combination of veggies or meats you liked. Then came a table laden down with covered tureens, labeled with things like “Poached Eggs Benedict” “Garlic Potatoes” and “French Toast.” At the other side of this table was another nice man, who would slice up your desired amount of roast beef or ham. Lastly came a table with several kinds of fresh baked rolls and crackers, a stockpot full of the soup de jour (shrimp bisque), and a selection of cheeses, cold cuts, and pates.

After loading their plates as full as they would go (“Ladies,” Barry Black reminded them, “It is a buffet after all. You can take as many trips as you like,”) Our Ladies and their gracious hosts sat down for some conversation and comestibles. Bunny’s favorites included the shrimp bisque (“Amazingly savory,” was her declaration), the Eggs Benedict (of which she is one of the world’s leading authorities), and the house made yogurt. Brandy enjoyed the cheese selection immensely, especially the drunken goat cheese (Blanche informed her that Signature Room only uses local cheeses and actually travels to the individual dairies to acquire them), as well as the carved roast beef (“It has almost a cured quality to it,” she mused between forkfuls), and Signature Room’s signature dessert, which consisted of dark chocolate cake, milk and white chocolate mousse, and a topper of chocolate ganache.

A very pleasant brunch indeed is to be found high in the clouds above Chicago. At $45 a person (not including the price of drinks) Signature Room is probably not a place to be enjoyed every week, at least not for the average person. Though if you have the kind of money and influence of the Blacks, you may do as you please, but for the rest of us, Bunny and Brandy would highly recommend making a reservation for you and your holiday guests, as this is definitly the place to celebrate something or someone special.

The Short and Sweet Review:

Signature Room at the 95th on Urbanspoon


  1. A raw bar! I had no idea! Then again, I think it's about 10 years since I've had brunch at the Hancock.

    Love the brunch blog! Looking forward to reading more about your adventures.