Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Local Root Cafe

Location: 601 N McClurg Ct.
Cost: About $15 per person

KVG and I had a final exam for our rotation in the intensive care unit (ICU). There was a multiple choice test at 7AM followed by individual skills exams throughout the day. We happened to draw the shortest of many straws, making us wait until the 3:30 and 4PM time slots. It was freezing cold out that day, and I wasn't about to trek back to Lincoln Park between tests. We both headed to Arif's place to warm up, make him get out of bed, and go to brunch with us. Despite our enthusiasm, we could only muster up enough strength to brave the five degree weather around the corner. That's how we ended up at The Local Root Cafe.

Local Root filled in for the empty spot left by what was Tutto Pronto next to that BYOB mani/pedi place and the Starbucks. The space is open and welcoming with a ton of space for a decent weekend brunch crowd, but given that we were there on a Friday morning all we had to compete with were the cafe bums nursing a big coffee mugs in the corner.

It's easy to provide quick service when no one else is eating in the restaurant. The whole restaurant from the name to menu screams local sourced ingredients. Given that, the cost is totally reasonable. Most dishes are in the $10 range which is what you pay pretty much anywhere for brunch in the city.

The Food
They've got a decent amount of specialty drink options, but KVG had just finished making tea before we went to brunch. Arif went for the Biscuits and Gravy, KVG got the Ham and Cheese Quiche, and I got the Mushroom Quiche. The biscuits were coated in gravy and topped with ground lamb. The meat was tasty and the biscuits were somewhat light and fluffy. Still, I couldn't help but notice the plate looked like vomit when it came out. Both quiches had near perfect crusts. They made a flaky mess with each bite and were not short on the butter. The filling was problematic with both. It was loose and runny. The sauce on top was broken when it came out. It was salty and not the least bit creamy. As far as the potatoes went, they were like bland and soft. Interestingly, they came with a side of local, organic ketchup (which was also runny and bland). I'd give it a break, but Heinz makes an organic ketchup that doesn't taste like red water.

The Biscuits and Gravy

 The Mushroom Quiche

Between the lamb sausage on the biscuits and gravy and the crust on the quiche there were some flashes of genius on our plates, but I couldn't get past the overarching flaws in each dish. I appreciate the local sourcing and reasonable pricing of ingredients, but I'm not heading back anytime soon. I'm giving Local Root 1.5 out of 5 Pearls.

Local Root Chicago on Urbanspoon


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