In my mind, Nellcôte, open since early 2012, was solely a drinking establishment, thanks to its well-crafted cocktails and wine list. However, my recent brunch visit changed that opinion. While mostly highlighted on its dinner menu, Nellcôte adeptly incorporates house-milled Midwestern wheat and homemade products into its European-inspired menu.
The restaurant’s moniker comes from Villa Nellcôte, a French mansion where the Rolling Stones recorded “Exile on Main Street.” The interior of Nellcôte, with its Art Nouveau wrought-iron gates, white Italian marble staircase, Parisian herringbone wood floors, and crystal chandeliers, is designed to impart that lush and opulent feeling, while still keeping things comfortable.
During my recent visit, my friend and I began with the house made granola, served atop seasonal fruit and yogurt. The granola was delicious – studded with pecans and whole rolled oats, the granola was not overly sweet and balanced nicely against the tartness of the yogurt. While we shared this dish, it would make a perfect entrée for light appetites, as well.
While I absolutely love lox, or brined salmon, I typically do not order it in restaurants in order to avoid the over-sized bagels typically served alongside it. However, at Nellcôte, the bagel is not only perfectly sized, but homemade, making it delicious and irresistible. The lox, too, was fresh and flavorful. The large capers were a perfect salty component, and I could not get enough of the addicting lemon-dill cream cheese. I would definitely order this again.
If I did not love my dish as much as I did, I would have had complete order envy of my friend’s whole wheat citrus pancakes, served with a cranberry-ginger compote, spiced maple whipped cream, and maple syrup. She thoroughly enjoyed the pancakes and appreciated the fresh citrus flavors imparted throughout the batter.
After our wonderful lunch, I am eager to return for dinner, especially to try its pizzas and pastas made with house milled flours. Aside from the aloof service, we enjoyed our brunch, and I now give as much credence to Nellcôte’s food as I do to its drinks. Nellcôte is open for dinner seven days a week, and for brunch on Saturday and Sunday. Reservations are accepted.
833 West Randolph Street, Chicago, Illinois 60607