Friday, April 10, 2015

BOHO or Bohemian Rhapsody

The Slow and Savory Review

Spring in Chicago seems to be slowly struggling through the frozen ground to pop its head out and embrace the sun.  Of course, spring brings with it many things to be excited about: warmer weather, baseball games, Chicago Gourmet pre-sales, but there is one thing above all that Brandy loves about spring. "It's brunch season!" Yes indeed, it is the season of brunch services launching all across the city in some of the finest restaurants, bakeries, bars, and gastro pubs.  Brandy does occasionally venture outside of her home for dinner, but as brunch is her main squeeze, she is always excited to see spots on her wish list premiering their brunch menus.  I comes as no surprise then that when Bohemian House in River North announced that they would begin serving an Eastern European inspired brunch on the weekends starting April 11th, Brandy was more than happy to preview the menu, "Solely for the sake of my fellow brunchers, of course," as she said.
Bohemian House was a beautiful, eclectic space, decorated in antiqued woods, turquoise and copper accents, with gem like light fixtures and patinaed metals.  Though a little small, the space was open and warm with tables and secluded booths surrounding two communal tables at the center of the restaurant.  The bar immediately commanded attention, as it had been constructed from what looked to be old sewing tables stacked to the ceiling and adhered to the exposed brick wall.  Brandy was instantly in love with everything from the blue leather sofas to the jewel toned floral plates.  "If I didn't know better, I'd think they took these lovely things right out of my china cupboard!" Brandy exclaimed, examining the dishes carefully.

Three of the specially crafted brunch cocktails were presented to the group: the Pick Me Up with Bowtruss Coffee, rye whiskey, and boozy whipped cream, the Pulaski Smash with green bell pepper juice, whiskey, lemon, and passion fruit, and the house Mimosa, made with a variety of juices like blackberry and mango.  While Brandy is always happy to sip a mimosa, even more so when the juice offerings are so unique, she found, much to her surprise, that she really enjoyed the Pulaski Smash.  "It's so refreshing and bright!" she exclaimed, "I wasn't so sure about the bell pepper juice, but it really give this drink some zing!" The Pick Me Up was just a little too strong to be paired with food, but Brandy thought it would be right at home as a pre-brunch drink or a post brunch treat.

 The sweet dishes coming out of BoHo's kitchen were varied and exciting.  There was the Almond Poppyseed Cake, which was moist and delectable with its crunchy streusel topping, there were the Donuts, perfectly fried little dough balls rolled in vanilla sugar as served with fluffy Bavarian cream and raspberry jam, and there was the Chocolate Cinnamon Scone, served warm and melty with a bright kumquat marmalade.  Brandy's favorite of all the sweets was most definitely the Bavarian Pancakes, which came with farmer's cheese, toasted pecans, and apples cooked in cider.  The pancakes were thin and rolled, much like an English pancake, and had a chewy consistency and a buttery flavor.  "Oh these are just splendid," Brandy moaned, moving the plate slightly closer towards her end of the table so as to keep the servers from sweeping it up.

The savory dishes were certainly the stars of the menu, bursting with texture and flavor.  They started off light with things like the Grilled Asparagus
Salad with mustard vinaigrette and crispy chicken skin, and the Lox & Toast, which was slices of beautiful salmon on rye bread with a soft boiled egg, cucumber, dill, and little salty pops of salmon roe.  Moving into heavier proteins, they sampled the house made Knackwurst with horseradish cream, which was chewy and satisfying, and the Gouda Brauwurst, packed with smokey cheese and served with beer braised onions, watermelon radishes, and an amazing whole seed house mustard that made appearances all across the menu.  The Beef Tongue Hash was a lovely stand in for an eggs Benedict with some buttery fingerling potatoes as well a some vinegary red cabbage and of course the tender chunks of beef tongue.  The open faced Pork Schnitzel Sandwich was a daunting prospect when set in front of Brandy, what with its more than generous slab of fried pork cutlet on top of a thick piece of rye bread, topped with an egg, more mustard, and some sauerkraut, it was more than enough for two people to share.  Lastly was Brandy's favorite among the savory dishes, the Skirt Steak and Eggs.  Though sounding like a fairly standard brunch dish, along with tender slices of steak and perfectly cooked eggs, this plate came with some delicious wilted greens, topped with aged gouda, and a side of mushroom and pepper spatzel that really turned it into something unique.

Absolutely smitten with everything about Bohemian House, Brandy insisted on shaking Chef Jimmy Papadopolous's hand before she left.  "I absolutely loved everything," she raved to him, "I know you'll have to change the menu about with the seasons, so if you need someone to come and test out any dishes in the future...well, let's just say I will make the time."  Though the service wasn't that of a typical meal, Brandy found the servers both helpful and well informed about what was being brought to the table, an accomplishment considering the menu was brand new, and a glance at the prices of the dishes showed fairly reasonable rates, especially when one considered the portion sizes.  "I wonder if anyone would notice if I took a cheeky little nap on the lounge sofa until they open up for dinner," Brandy wondered aloud before she reluctantly headed out the door.

The writers of this blog were invited by the restaurant to dine free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

The Short and Sweet Review

Boho - Bohemian House on Urbanspoon

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