It’s the holidays!
‘Tis the indulgent season of eating, drinking and sharing with pals. And that we sure did at Nellcôte.
You’re probably like us in that you’re over flash-sale deals (Read: Groupon, LivingSocial, Amazon Deals, etc.). Through the email clutter, one Gilt deal caught our eyes: Holiday brunch for two at Nellcôte, including a charcuterie plate, two entrees, two cocktails and a movie.
Umm, yes! Just the impetus we needed to try the West Loop restaurant about which several friends have raved.
The weather on the day of the brunch was cold, gray and rainy. But the moment we stepped into Nellcôte, the gray outside was quickly forgotten. Everything was gorgeous from its mix of chandeliers and cement, wall patterns, table settings to its menu design.
So first things first. Cocktails, coffee and a charcuterie plate.
There were three bloody mary variations on the menu, in addition to bellinis and mimosas. Bloody mary options included a Classic Bloody Mary, Bloody Caesar and Verde Maria.
Since variety is the spice of life, we ordered two different ones.
The Classic Bloody Mary was bold with a delicate edge. Almost ladylike, if you will. When some bloodys lack in flavor, they compensate with heat. Not the case with this bloody. The flavor stood on its own. While it had a slight kick, it was subtly spiced, made with Stoli vodka, tomato juice, roasted vegetables, horseradish and a healthy dose of garlic.
Though we both are fans and bloodys made with clam juice (a la Clamato), we enjoyed the Bloody Caesar slightly less. “Harsh” was actually word used. And it didn’t have an overtly tomato taste. The clam juice, clam ceviche, celery salt and Stoli powered the drink.
Garnishes also impressed. Because Nellcôte is ran by the charcuterie geniuses behind Old Town Social, it was no surprise the bloodys were dressed in cured salami, gouda and pickled cauliflower.
While we should have tried the Verde Maria, the classic was so delicious, we couldn’t help but order another (which wasn’t included).
Now about that charcuterie plate. It boosted proscuitto, cheeses, lemon curd, fresh butter, figs and jam. The lemon curd and butter were especially to die for. Our only complaint is there weren’t enough bread or biscuits to enjoy it all.
We decided to also split two entrees. And given that the options included steak & eggs, quiche lorraine, pain perdu, and a sunnyside-up egg pizza, those decisions weren’t easy. We finally arrived on the lobster hash and fresh spaghetti.
The entrees were a delightful balance of decadent and elegant. The lobster hash was the standout with its perfectly poached eggs, yukon potatoes and smoked paprika hollandaise sauce. And the fresh spaghetti was, as advertised, extremely fresh with a one-hour egg, thick cured bacon and a nutty pecorino finish.
The delicious didn’t stop there. Since we were enjoying the Jude Law eye candy in the movie “The Holiday” playing, we lingered over dessert which wasn’t included but absolutely well worth it.
Three words: blue cheese caramel. We’re not sure how or why this works. It just does. The pear seems to have been simmered in red wine, cinnamon and orange and placed atop vanilla emulsion, blue cheese caramel and honey-roasted walnuts. We’re still dreaming about this.
Classic Bloody Mary: Our rating (scale of 1–5)
Bloody Caesar: Our rating (scale of 1–5)
Hands down, this was the perfect way to toast to our friendship, the holidays, and our love for bloody marys. The food and Jude Law eye candy wasn’t bad either.
Though we took a break from posting, we have several bloody marys and adventures to tell you about. Stay tuned in 2013! Happy Holidays everyone.