Hutch serves brunch every day. Despite this, my boyfriend and I decided to try it out during prime brunching time: noon on a Saturday. When we arrived, this Lakeview establishment was packed. Groups of people were waiting both inside and outside the restaurant for tables, so I was worried my “hanger” would kick in before we were seated. Fortunately, we soon found out that the bar tables were seated first-come-first-served. Most of Hutch’s patrons came in larger groups, so Daniel and I were able to grab a two-person table by the window immediately.
Sitting in the bar section of Hutch gave me the opportunity to people watch. As a D.C. “expat,” I quickly realized that the brunch cultures of Chicago and Washington are totally different. In D.C., brunch is an event. For this reason, I made an effort to look nice for my morning meal and wore a nice skirt and blouse. Daniel, who is a Chicago native, didn’t understand my need to dress up. When I saw that most of Hutch’s patrons went for the jeans-and-a-t-shirt look, I realized that Chicagoans are much more relaxed than Washingtonians (who always look professional in case they run into a senator). Chicago’s low-key vibe reminds me a lot of my hometown, Philadelphia.
Whenever I am out to brunch, I always ask myself one question: do I want something savory, or something sweet? The answer is usually the latter, but sweet dishes typically don’t include any kind of protein so I quickly become hungry again after my meal. This time I went all out and split a savory dish as an appetizer with my boyfriend and then had a sweet entrée for “dessert.”
We started out with the Totchos ($8.49), which consisted of tater tots topped with caramelized onions, peppers, pico de gallo, chorizo, cheese sauce, and fried eggs. The dish came out quickly, which was perfect because we were starving. The dish was everything you could want in a brunch item. All of the components went so well together. The crispy, textured tots absorbed all of the flavors in the dish, including the spicy, crumbly chorizo and the creamy yet light cheese sauce. We didn’t actually order the dish with the chorizo because of the $2 upcharge for chorizo, so we were pleased to see that we were not billed for the add-on. Although the totchos were listed with the menu’s appetizers, this dish was heavy enough to be a whole meal by itself.
Although the totchos were filling, I made room for the main event: the Croissant French Toast ($10.49). This is the dish that lured me into Hutch when I saw it on the menu outside of the restaurant. French toast is my go-to sweet brunch dish, so I’m always excited to try new takes on this classic entrée. This decadent French toast oozed with mascarpone cheese and was sprinkled with fresh strawberries and powdered sugar. The combination was fantastic. The croissant base made the dish fluffier than classic renditions I’m used to. I didn’t have much need for the maple syrup because the dish was already sweet enough. I would have liked to have more strawberries on my plate to lighten up the hearty dish.
For his entrée, Daniel went with the Chilaquiles ($10.49). If you’re unfamiliar with this dish, as I was, chilaquiles is a Mexican dish traditionally made with tortillas, salsa, cheese, pulled chicken, and refried beans. Hutch “breakfastized” this dish by foregoing the beans and replacing the chicken with scrambled eggs. To me, the dish was kind of like soggy nachos topped with eggs. I prefer my tortilla chips crunchy! Daniel, on the other hand, liked the chilaquiles a lot and said that this was a solid rendition of the dish. Overall, the food we enjoyed was delicious.
Hutch’s weekend brunch scene is loud and bustling. As I already said, Chicagoans are less uptight and more casual than Washingtonians. During my meal, Hutch’s bar was constantly packed and its college-aged patrons were taking shots of the house special pineapple infused vodka. Let me reiterate that it this was at noon on a Saturday. I also overheard a group of friends chatting about how they were still drunk from the previous night’s adventures. I may not party as hard as the Chicagoans, but I admire their spirit. Nothing gets in the way of brunching with friends in this city!
Although the service we received was pretty solid overall, sometimes it was difficult to get our waiter’s attention because of how busy the restaurant was. Furthermore, our entrees came out while we were still working on our appetizer, which is usually fine, but our bar table was so tiny that it was difficult to fit three plates on it at once.
The Bottom Line
Overall, Hutch was a delicious introduction to Chicago’s brunch scene for me. I can definitely see myself gathering here with friends to share a tasty meal and juicy stories. I will be back for the totchos and to try more of the menu.
3301 N Clark St. (Lakeview)
Chicago, IL 60657
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