Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Band of Bohemia - Brunch

While Green River was an unplanned brunch, however good it was, I returned to my regularly scheduled brunches soon after with a trip to Band of Bohemia, the first brewpub ever to have been awarded a Michelin Star.  Run by Alinea vets and located in a former warehouse in Ravenswood, from the outside that is exactly what it looks like.  The inside is something different.  It uses a bunch of vintage furniture, book cases, upholstered chairs, dressers, heavy curtains, and long wooden tables in a room that retains it's industrial feel with white brick walls and an open unfinished ceiling.  There is also an area off to the side that's like a salon where I had been seated before that had couches, arm chairs, side tables, and coffee tables.  The bar is long and dark colored wood and looks into the modern kitchen on one side, the other side looking at the taps.  We were seated at one of the long tables in the center of the dining room.  As this is a brewery, I figured that it would be a shme not to try the beer, so I ordered a flight.  The beers served are mostly ales, but they do not precisely fit into common styles using many different fruits and botanicals.  The beers were all served in crystal goblets that let them breathe.  We started with Peony Starflower Ale, an ale made with White Tea and Starflower.  It was very clear and almost looked like apple juice, but it was definitely beer and had a light botanical flavor to it.  Next was Guava Pink Peppercorn Rye Ale and with that came all of the flavors of fruit and spice that you might expect.  Constellation's Kiss, the center beer, was brewed for Next Restaurant and included Jasmine Rice, Lemongrass, Thai basil, and did nothing for me.  Beer number four is a regular on their menu, The Noble Raven Ale.  It is a light and crisp German style Ale, which while not really surprising, is very solid in its execution.  The final beer was (Sitting on) the Dark of the Bay.  A dark colored beer made a play on words of it's name.  When I think black beer, I think heavy.  This was very definitely not that.  It was a Black Wheat Ale that used Bay Rum, Bay Citrus, and Bay Laurel.  It was very flavorful but surprising in that it was not heavy and did not have the bitter flavor of a stout or a porter.  This was probably my favorite beer.
For the sweet side of my brunch we started out with Donuts, specifically started out with Brioche Donuts with Cinnamon-Cardamom-Vanilla-Maple Sugar served both as donuts and the holes.  The donuts were of the yeast type so were pretty light and I would imagine that if it were not for the sugar, they would have a salty, buttery, and savory flavor being as it's made from an egg washed dough.  The mixed sugar though, gave it a pretty complete covering and a sweet, spicy, nutty flavor.  I also got a cup of their house Dark Matter coffee, which was a dark roast and had a good rich flavor to it.
When everyone was brought their main course, I was brought a pancake, which was not what I ordered.  The waiter very quickly noticed that it was not what I ordered and said that my order would be out quickly and that we could keep it.  It did look pretty good, so it couldn't go to waste, and we had a bonus sweet plate.  The Pancake was an Oat and Buttermilk Pancake with Oats, Rye, Hemp Hearts, and Buttermilk with Cherry Bourbon Maple Syrup and Whipped Creme Fraiche.  It was a little more dense than your standard pancake with a strong flavor of grains and some tartness from the buttermilk.  The cherries on top were sweetened tart cherries which went well with the buttermilk and the creme fraiche.  The bourbon cherry syrup was sweet, and woody and went well with the cherries and tempered some of the tartness of the pancake and creme fraiche.
My main course, the one that I actually ordered was Fried Chicken and French Toast.  It was had a lot of tropical flavors and was very good.  It started with Caribbean Fried Chicken (boned) served with Papaya - Jalapeno French Toast, Bananas, Orange, Mint, and Mango-Passionfruit Syrup.  I like Chicken and Waffles, but this was taking things up a level with peppers and flavors of tropical fruit adding both sweet and tartness. 
After sharing the pancake and  eating this, as well as a donut, I was pretty full, but in a good way.  The food and beer were very good, as was the service and I did like the design of the place down to the box that looked like a leather-bound book that held the bill.  In it's early days, they used actual books as bill holders, but decided that that was difficult to hold the money, so they went with the box.  In any case, it looks cool and I will definitely return.         

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