Sunday, March 08, 2009

Stratton's Cafe

Ratings Guide:
Half handshake, half chest-bump hug – 5 stars
Chest bump – 4 stars
Fist bump – 3 stars
High five – 2 stars
Handshake – 1 star
Manly ass slap – ½ star
Fone and fone – 0 stars

Restaurant: Stratton’s Cafe
Location: 8103 Big Bend

My co-worker Kelly knows I love breakfast. And she’s been bored to tears listening to me talk about all the great breakfast/brunch places in Chicago. She finally reached her breaking point and told me I had to at least check out Stratton’s before poo-pooing the awful breakfast/brunch options here in the Lou.

But here’s the problem: Kelly has terrible taste buds. She was the one who implored me to check out Niche and Agave, and both were very overrated. And those are just two examples out of about 50 that I have in my repertoire of Kelly and her horrible opinions (and I mean that in the nicest possible way). So when she said that Stratton’s was her favorite breakfast spot in the city, I was more than a little skeptical.

We recently moved about three blocks away, so I was out of excuses. And just to make sure I gave it a fair shake, I’ve been there four times in the past three weeks. I’ve tried a wide variety of menu items, including an egg sandwich, two different kinds of pancakes, French toast, and biscuits and gravy. So I think I’m finally ready to make an educated decision on Stratton’s. And while I could make you wait to the end, I’ll spare you the suspense. According to my wife, it’s just OK, and according to me, it’s solid but nothing special.

The pancakes are probably my favorite things that I’ve gotten. The classic buttermilk are fluffy and sweet. You don’t even need syrup if you don’t want (but who wouldn’t want syrup). My son loves them, and typically devours one by himself (they’re pretty big, so that’s actually impressive, considering his age). And the chocolate chip pancakes are even better. But, my wife said the buckwheat aren’t all that good, and she even added syrup to them.

The egg sandwich was the next best thing on the menu. There really wasn’t anything special about it, but it was tasty. But it doesn’t come with any side items. You have to order them separately. They’re already charging almost four bucks for the sandwich, so they should go ahead and charge an extra buck and give you the choice of hash browns or toast or fruit or something. Because you don’t really think about a side item when you order, and then when you’re sandwich comes out you’re like, “No hash browns or fruit? FML.” And then you have to go back up and order. You’ve been warned, so just keep that in mind.

The biscuits and gravy are pretty good. Not too thick, not too watery, and plenty of gravy. My only complaint is that it doesn’t taste that much different than gravy out of a can. And it’s probably homemade; it’s just that it doesn’t have that delicious homemade taste I was looking for.

The French toast was terrible, but I’ll take the blame for that. Under the French toast section I saw “Banana” and had my wife order it for me. But when it came out I knew I was in trouble. It was covered in yogurt and granola. I had a bite, and immediately went up and ordered pancakes instead. Here’s the problem, I hate yogurt. And after looking at the menu again it clearly read “Banana, Yogurt & Fresh Granola”. For some reason I thought that meant they had two different kinds of specialty French toast, with one being banana, and the other being Yogurt & Granola. But it’s not. It’s just one big load of crap. Oh well. Lesson learned.

The atmosphere is cozy, but sometimes you feel rushed to eat and get out to open up a table for people waiting. At least the coffee is good. I still think it’s just a tad pricey for what it is, but it’s not ridiculous or anything.

So, Kelly wasn’t wrong. But she wasn’t right either. Fist bump.


At 4:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was there a miniature train just large enough for an adult man to ride on running through the restaurant? Did you run into Freddie Liptencottleman? Did Alfonso do any break dancing?

At 12:56 PM, Anonymous kelly Linehan said...

i would like to add a couple comments:
1) i never said it's the best in town, but i do enjoy eating there. i like the portion size, but the a la carte issue is a tad annoying.
2) i do not have terrible taste. i didn't enjoy agave, i just figured you would like it being a little different and more ethnic than most mexican here in the lou.
3) you still have tried aya sofia....and you need to.


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