Sunday, May 23, 2010

Flo

Lisa, Noam, and I went to brunch this weekend. One goal in mind was that Lisa wanted to branch out from the regular Wicker Park destinations. In general, it seemed like Lisa was in an adventurous mood. Also, Lisa's introduced me to such places as Milk and Honey, Jam, and Feast (basically all the good brunch places on this blog), so I figured there would be no leading astray. She ended up taking us right near the corner of Chicago and Ashland (what I think is River West). There stands a little New Mexican restaurant called Flo.


Logistics
The setup of Flo is pretty standard to that of most brunch places in the city. It's a very thin and long restaurant that has somewhat of a small bar setup and seating for 60 or so. They might take reservations for dinner, but I doubt that they do for brunch. We went pretty early at around 9:30, so we beat most of the crowds and got sat right away. An interesting note is that they close at 3 PM on Sundays. As someone who worked at a breakfast place that closed at 3, I can tell you that you better not show up right before close. It's not like we did this, but I know many of my readers are likely to go out late the night before, sleep in till 2, and make a mad rush to grab some brunch food before closing. I'm just assuming they wouldn't appreciate it.

As far as the service goes, it was kind and efficient. There was no busy rush to the atmosphere like you may get at some of the more well known brunch locales. The waiter had many good suggestions and was very knowledgeable about the menu. Mostly, it was just a pleasant place to eat. I was impressed how little noise there was for the crowd that was there by the time we left. This place would probably be great for taking a long breakfast, but the Kekambas had a softball game, so we took advantage of the quick service.

The Food
Most of you know this, but for those that don't, I can't handle much caffeine. I get all jittery and feel sick after a medium sized cup of coffee. Once, when I thought it would be beneficial, I drank a huge mug of coffee before an 8 AM ECE test. Basically, I had a panic attack midway through the exam and ended up bombing it, but I digress. I was trying to get at the drinks Lisa and Noam ordered. Lisa had the iced mocha and Noam had the Cafe Au Lait (not Cafe Ole, but I learned that the hard way). I do like the occasional mocha and thought this one was fantastic.

 Cafe Au Lait and Iced Mocha

We decided that it would be best to order two dishes and split them among the three of us. In an attempt to seek out Flo's strengths, we ended up choosing the Huevos Rancheros and the Polenta Hash. The Huevos Rancheros was done very interestingly. It was more like enchiladas covered in over medium eggs with a red chile sauce. The sauce was thick, carried a kick, and blended perfectly with the melted cheddar. It came with flour tortillas, and even though it came in enchiladas, we still chose to kind of build our own tacos out of this dish. The Polenta Hash was nothing like what I'd expected. When I hear hash, I think of a hodgepodge of ingredients. This was much cleaner. There were two larges cubes of polenta topped with poached eggs and a variety of sauteed veggies (namely mushrooms, peppers, onions, and squash). It also came with a delicious poblano dipping sauce that gave an excellent contrast to the red chile sauce on the Huevos Rancheros. Basically, there are two main sauces (red chile and green poblano), and it's essential that you try both. The Hash had a few main stars. The eggs were poached properly with just the right texture to the whites while the yolks still oozed. The polenta was firm with a light garlic flavor. The real delight was the poblano sauce, and one reason the polenta was so good was that it was the single item that could soak up the most sauce.

 Huevos Rancheros

Polenta Hash

Overall
I doubt most of my readers have had a chance to try out much of any River West restaurants, but now you have a clear reason to. Flo says it right on their website, "Red or Green?" The flavors of your dish are based closely around the characteristics of these sauces essential to Southwest American cuisine. Logistically, I'd say this place isn't so grossly popular that you can't get in, and the service was spot on. The food was appetizing, filling, and something new. I'd give Flo 3.5 out of 5 Pearls.


I'd like to give special thanks to Josh Finkle for contributing the updated Pearl Graphics. You'll now notice that no matter how many Pearls are given, that the picture is the same size. Also, the shading system is a nice touch. Thanks Josh.

Flo on Urbanspoon

6 comments:

  1. Kekeambas? Where did that team name come from?

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  2. It's from Hardball. You know, the one where Keanu Reeves teaches some inner city kids how to play ball and in the process they teach him how to live with himself.

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  3. what was the average price for a meal Jeff?

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  4. Good question Goose. I think the whole bill came out to somewhere around $25. I don't really remember each dish, but that's a pretty reasonable overall price (especially when you're treated by your nice employed friend Noam).

    Goose also brought up a good point to me earlier, which is that the neighborhood would be considered West Town and not River West.

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