Spiaggia and Terzo Piano) and Chef John Hogan. River Roast boasts not only a bounty of contemporary American fair with a relaxed tavern atmosphere, but also some of the most extraordinary dining views in the city, as the restaurant is located right on the river at the LaSalle Street Bridge. The upstairs area is more trendy and lounge like, where as the downstairs looks more warm and friendly, with an open kitchen that almost resembles a market, displaying oodles of fresh fruit and veggies which add splashes of color to the otherwise gold toned wood dominated room. The patio is where the best views can certainly be found, as it faces directly out to the river, where diners can watch all manner of boats float by. Brandy was also delighted to find out that for brunch, River Roast brings in local blues bands to play for the patrons. "Nothing like a little live music with your bacon and eggs," as she always likes to say.
Brandy arrived to find a group of some of her fellow food bloggers seated banquet style in the downstairs dining room ("How did I know they were bloggers? They were all on their phones," Brandy said.). The morning started off with an absolutely perfect mimosa. Bright, flavorful, but not too acidic or sweet, everyone at the table simply could not stop fawning over the cocktail. "What's your secret?" One of the brunch guests asked a server. "Lots of booze," the server responded. "Cheers to that!" Brandy toasted.
The first food to the table was a Housemade Biscuit and Honey. The biscuit was flaky perfection with a good, rich buttery flavor, but Brandy absolutely adored the tiny honey pot and mini dipper that came with it.
Next was the Ploughman's Platter, loaded with choice cuts of cured meat, head cheese, dried cranberries, tiny pickles, toasted sourdough slices, several blobs of different mustards, and a small salad with a soft boiled egg. Brandy was glad to see an ode to her British roots presented here, though for a proper Ploughman's, she would have liked to see some cheese and perhaps a few apple slices. "This is a fine charcuterie selection, don't get me wrong," she said, "Just maybe not a traditional Ploughman's like I'm used to." Still, Brandy loved the variety of textures on the platter, from the crisp pickles to the soft head cheese and the chewy, sweet cranberries.
After the table was left to snack on that for a while, the torrent of food began to arrive. For side dishes, the servers brought out tiny skillets with Housemade Breakfast Sausage, which was fatty, rich, and well spiced. The surprise star of the table were the Crispy Potatoes, which almost everyone had a second helping of. True to their name, the potatoes were crackly crisp, yet light and not greasy at all.
After thoroughly stuffing their faces, the attendees were then treated to an architectural tour from Wendella Boats, which picked them up right from the dock at the restaurant. Although Brandy has done similar tours several times now since moving to Chicago, the wonder and majesty of the city she now calls home never seems to wain. The day was rather foggy and unseasonably cool, but that didn't stop Brandy from snapping away at the mythical buildings that dominate the landscape of this wonderful city.
Though Brandy was all but ready for a nap when the boat arrived back at the restaurant, she couldn't help but grab a seat out on the patio, order one more drink, and relax to the blues band as she watched a fleet of kayakers row their way down stream. "Comfort food indeed!" she said to no one in particular, "I'm beginning to feel a little too comfortable. They may have to pry this seat away from my cold, hard bum if they want it back for dinner service."
Make sure to check Bunny and Brandy's Facebook Page for more pictures from the brunch and the boat tour!
The Short and Sweet Review