Cost: About $15 per person
My flight back from India was 16 hours with a 10 hour time difference. I slept for the first 9 hours of the flight and then was awake for the last 7. The major problem was that when we landed it was 7 AM in Chicago. Point of the story being that my jet lag was something fierce. Readjusting my schedule was proving to be really difficult, and I was trying my hardest to occupy my last few days of vacation with activities so that I wouldn't fall asleep. Luckily my buddy Arif called me to get together with him, Jessie, and KVG for some brunch. We would've gone somewhere around campus, but since I've got a car people like to take that as an opportunity to go elsewhere. We ended up in the south loop at the Bongo Room.
The Bongo Room is set up with two rooms. There's one main dining room and another with the host stand and a small breakfast bar. They're only open for breakfast and lunch with hours that are something like 8AM-2PM. Jessie made an interesting observation that although we were in the south loop and not the wicker park location, the waitresses still maintained a pretty hipster look. We went at 12:30 on a Friday which isn't really representative of a breakfast rush. I'd assume the waits get pretty substantial for the weekend brunch. If it's too crowded you might be able to run over to the 11 City Diner down the block.
The service was fine, and the waitress put up with a rather lengthy bout of our indecisiveness. Arif could've used some more frequent coffee refills I guess. We also noticed something strange in that the tables were a bit lower than normal. The cost was what I've grown to expect out of brunch with the majority of items around $10. Portions were justifiable large. I'm pretty sure everyone besides me had leftovers.
For our meal Jessie got the Special Veggie Omelet, KVG got some Banana Heath Bar Pancakes, Arif had the Red Velvet French Toast , and I got the Veggie Croissant Sandwich. Jessie thought the omelet was "nothing special." It doesn't look like it from the picture, but it was loaded with veggies. The potatoes, however, were sub par. They were unevenly roasted and somewhat undercooked. The french toast was soft, soaked, and heavily topped. The fruit abundance was nice, but the sweet dressing may have been a bit much. My veggie croissant was really delicious. The egg was runny how I wanted it, the veggies were really fresh, and the basil mayo added a light and delicious spin to the dish.
The Special Veggie Omelet
The Banana Caramel Pancakes
The Red Velvet French Toast
The Veggie Croissant Sandwich
I think people like the Bongo Room for their big sugary breakfast options. I've always been one to lean toward the savory side though. Some of their dishes could have probably shown a bit more restraint for me. The veggie omelet was a great call. Breakfast restaurants without solid potatoes are always suspect to me. It's pretty similar in my mind to Yolk. I'm giving them 3 out of 5 Pearls.