“Bros who brunch” has yet to take off among my friends, likely because we call ourselves by name instead of bro. At its best, brunch is breakfast with booze. At its worst, brunch is long wait times, rushed service, overpriced eggs and shouting over the din at your friends. When Grand Lux Cafe invited me back to try out their brunch offerings, I dusted off my seersucker and ventured to downtown Chicago with Leann to sample how they do brunch on the Mag Mile. (I ate my way through their dinner menu a few weeks back. You can read up on that here.)
Looking around the massive restaurant in the daylight, most brunchers appeared to be tourists. Grand Lux Cafe has a prime location for shoppers stocking up at stores on Michigan Ave. The restaurant is huge, which nearly guarantees you won’t have to wait for a table to get brunch. That tackles one of the main brunch irritants. Since it is a larger restaurant, they have more servers who can give better service. The menu is far from the diner offerings in My Cousin Vinny.
We started with mimosas because it was brunch and how am I supposed to fully experience it without bubbly and juice? Both mimosas were tasty and refreshing. Leann’s blood orange had the slight advantage since it was a bit sweeter than mine. When I saw Pina Colada on the menu I was transported to Old San Juan. Leann and I sipped the fine cocktail from the originator of the drink during our trip to Puerto Rico. If the wind is just right and I close my eyes I can still taste that sensational creation. Grand Lux’s offering wasn’t as good, but that could’ve been because I wasn’t on a beach.
And now for the food part of brunch…
Leann selected the breakfast sandwich which features all the meats. It isn’t a breakfast sandwich if it doesn’t have bacon. I ordered the Eggs Benedict in anticipation of #NationalEggsBenedictDay. If I keep eating things with national day hashtags, I’ll be #NationallyObese. I was a late convert to Eggs Benedict and have attempted to make them a few times. It can be a tricky dish to make. The eggs have to be cooked perfectly. The line is fine between under cooked, perfect and over cooked. Then there’s the hollandaise, an emulsion sauce. Grand Lux Cafe didn’t disappoint. The ham base was salty, the eggs cooked perfectly and the sauce thick with a hint of lemon.
Leann managed to eat half her sandwich as I sopped up the egg and hollandaise sauce. We were pretty full but already committed to these pillowy puffs of dough. Fresh out of the kitchen, warm beignets with three dipping sauces were the topper on how to do brunch correctly. Fueled up, we strolled down Michigan Avenue with the tourists to window shop.