1152 south wabash avenue
chicago, il 60605
with two locations in the chicago area, the bongo room has been a staple in the breakfast/brunch scene for many years. the bongo room is known for their sinfully decadent dessert-esque pancake and french toast creations, and has been on my must try list for some time.
arriving at the wabash location a few hours before we were to see the cardinals play the cubs at wrigley field, we were seated right away in the almost full restaurant. browsing the menu as well as a lengthy listing of specials, carrie and i knew narrowing down our choices would be difficult. once i realized ordering single pancakes was an option, things became a bit easier, and we opted to share one savory choice along with three single pancakes.
for the savory plate, we chose the chorizo, potato, avocado and queso fresco cheese omelet from the specials menu. served with a side of salsa, hash browns, and an english muffin, this was an amazing offering. the perfect egg omelet was bursting with spicy chorizo and huge chunks of creamy avocado, and made for one of the best savory breakfast plates i have had in some time.
however, it was the dessert pancakes that brought us in the door, and they did not disappoint in the slightest. pictured above is the orange-ricotta hotcake with fresh strawberries and ginersnap brown sugar butter. Definitely the lightest of our pancake trio, this was carrie's favorite. the gingersnap brown sugar butter was the highlight for me.
next up, and my personal favorite, was the white chocolate and caramel covered pretzel pancake with crushed pretzel, white chocolate, and buttery caramel. this pancake was the heaviest of the three, and was an exercise in absolute decadence. i loved how the crushed pretzel added an additional degree of texture to the fray.
finally, our least favorite of the three was the still quite formidable red velvet chocolatey cocoa hotcake topped with warm vanilla creme and toasted walnuts. being only slightly less rich than the white chocolate caramel cake, i was already in sugar overload by the time i got to it, and between carrie and i we were unable to finish it. it is hard to describe, but the red velvet cake had a distinctly different texture to it than the other two cakes.
i went into the bongo room with the approach that i wanted to try as many items as possible, and while i did achieve that goal, i would do things differently on a return visit as i ended up a bit overwhelmed. as much as i enjoyed the omelet, what makes the bongo room unique is their pancake and french toast selection, and they are so rich that trying to mix several of them with a savory dish first thing in the morning is a tall task for someone who doesn't usually eat much for breakfast. with that said, next time i plan to go a bit later in the day and focus on the sweets!