"I'm just about to call an Uber, see you in a jiffy!" Brandy's friend Bernais Bamboo texted her. Brandy was already sitting on the train, headed for River North. It was the first snow of the year and she had decided that she needed to be nestled in a cozy restaurant, sipping a drink in order to enjoy it properly, and she had invited her plucky acquaintance to accompany her. "Why is my first instinct to go outside during a snow storm?" Brandy questioned herself. "Everyone else in Chicago seems to have the opposite reaction. Odd, that."
Brandy had decided to visit the city's newest brunch themed restaurant, Hutch American Cafe, an extension of the popular Lakeview spot that started life as one of Brandy's very first brunch favorites. Entirely brunch-centric restaurants have been problematic for Brandy in the past, as they seem to put so much concentration of creating large, all inclusive menus, that uniqueness and seasonality tend to get pushed aside. "The most successful brunch menus I've seen have always been rather small, flexible, and creative without being unapproachable," says Brandy, "Trying to please too many people all at once can sometimes compromise the experience as a whole. I'd rather see a restaurant's personality shine through with some unexpected options rather than be overloaded with old standbys."
Still hearing nothing from Bernais, Brandy rounded out her meal with some Nutella Dough Poppers. These lovely little pockets were a pleasant surprise, being flaky and chewy and not doughnut-like at all, which was what she had expected. She was delighted that they weren't overly indulgent either, but perfectly sweetened, crispy, and great with a hot cup of coffee. "I'm almost glad Bernais wasn't able to make it today," Brandy admitted to herself, "Because if she had, I would have had to share these little gems."
The service at Hutch had been lovely and friendly, and even though there was a notice on the menu asking patrons to limit themselves to 90 minutes per table, she never felt rushed. The food could have used a little finesse to become something truly unique and special, but it gave Brandy enough of a taste of things to come that she was excited to see what else might be in store. "I'm here, I'm here!" Bernais exclaimed, running up to Brandy outside the restaurant. "I'm sorry, my dear, but I've just finished," said Brandy, "But don't worry. I've got your entree and some Tot-chos right here in my bag for you. Let's get you home. You've had a rough morning."
The writers of this blog were invited to dine at the restaurant free of charge in exchange for an honest review.
The Short and Sweet Review