The Bongo Room

by Steven Behling


True to form, my tribute to the city of Chicago and the food that got me through graduate school is taking longer to complete than promised...much like the graduate school experience itself.  October 2014 was a crazy month with some rather tough stuff in it, but here we are in November and I'm hungry to continue celebrating some of my favorite Chicago eateries. 

The Bongo Room.  Photos simply do not do justice to the decadence that is brunch at The Bongo Room.  Very few photos exist of my many trips to this fine establishment, mostly because I could not wait another moment to take in the fluffiest pancakes coated in crushed pretzels and drizzled with chocolate and bananas, or perhaps an aromatic vanilla crème anglaise and ribbons of salted caramel, or maybe a dusting of graham cracker and webs of chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla sauces with fresh strawberries dancing in a Neapolitan wonderland.  If you play your cards right, you might happen upon said pancakes topped with crushed candied praline and buttery hazelnut cream.  I could go on and on.  And on.

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Pancakes not your thing?  No prob.  How 'bout their chocolate tower French toast?  Bittersweet chocolate chunk bread with maple mascarpone (did someone say autumn?), banana crème brûlée sauce (what?!), fresh bananas and a little chocolate tulip plus chocolate shavings on top. #becausechocolate

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I suggest going with a friend and ordering one sweet, one savory, and splitting them amongst yourselves.  My favorite savory has always been their baby spinach, roasted red pepper, and feta Benedict, shown photobombing the chocolate tower French toast above.  That Benedict is such a ham.

The Bongo Room has three Chicago locations: 1470 N Milwaukee in Wicker Park (check out the ceiling fans!), 5022 N Clark in Andersonville (perhaps the most seating of the three), and the original South Loop location at 1152 S Wabash.