Reviews of Breakfast and Brunch Restaurants

Solstice Restaurant Western Springs

Solstice Restaurant WEBSITE

Good Morning Gators!

This morning we are off to another Suburban spot. Thats 2 in a row. This one however would be just as comfortable if it were in Logan Square.

Solstice Restaurant Western Springs
Exterior

We arrived in the BREKFST Mobile just shy of their 7am opening. As per standard operating procedure, I took the exterior and interior shots as Diane grabbed a table. I finished up and sat down. The only window side table is wall table with a bench. UGH (see rant page). Our server Lauren asked if we wanted something besides water to drink. I chose Coffee of course and Diane chose one of their loose tea offerings. (Roasted Almond) From Benjamin Tea Company. The coffee is from a roaster in Plainfield called Ten Drops. It was mild but good.   8    

The interior of the place is cute and small. Im quite sure that it was going to be stuffed full of Hipsters in no time. The Decor is Urban industrial. The wall art was a mix of Eggs, Plants, and Meats. The music was a mashup of current stuff with 60’s and 70’s easy rock.   8    

 

Solstice Restaurant Western Springs
Interior

Solstice Restaurant Western Springs
Interior

Solstice Restaurant Western Springs
Interior

Solstice Restaurant Western Springs
Interior

Solstice Restaurant Western Springs
Ingredient Source Map

 

As you can see in the above photo they are proud of local sourcing. YES it’s good but some of you know that I really don’t care if the Chicken was born in Illinois or not.

Much to my liking the menu is short. It has a mix of standard breakfast foodstuffs and more inventive creations. Diane and I pretty quickly made some decisions.

Diane:

Full of glee that we found an intriguing Breakfast  destination in the western burbs, I kept my grousing to a minimum when Gene nudged me awake at 5:45am on this balmy 38 degree January Sunday morning.  LaGrange, Countryside, Western Springs area is my old stomping grounds (in the late 80’s and all of 90’s) and its cool to spot a gem as Solstice turns out to be. The music mix was very uplifty…a bit of soul, R&B, indie folk and 70’s pop. Gene and I both feel the the right music  is rather important to complement the personality of the restaurant

There is a decent offering of unique loose teas on the menu with names like Love, Coconut Frenzy, and Moroccan Mint. As it turns out, the Roasted Almond was served in a generous teapot. Lauren gave a mini lesson on proper steep time for my tea, and was very sweet so early in the morning. She knows the menu very well and informed us that she had tried every single thing on the menu and was very proud to share that she had been part of the team for well over a few years (they have been in business for 3 years).

 

Solstice Restaurant
Cloth Napkins

Solstice Restaurant Western Springs
Loose Tea

Solstice Restaurant Western Springs
Loose Tea

 

1

Fried Brussel Sprouts, Egg, Bacon, Sesame Seeds, Chili Glaze

A few years back there were about 6 people eating Brussel Sprouts. I was one of them. When they are prepared correctly they are delish.  The problem was that most people didn’t know what to do with them except boil them until they were very dead. Luckily they have made a strong surge in popularity due to imaginative chefs cooking them correctly. One of the great ways to cook them is in the deep fryer. We could actually smell them cooking. Chef and co owner Lucas Bumba brought them to the table and presented them to us like they were a precious gift. As it turned out they WERE. They were tender crisp fried nuggets of deliciousness. They had some house made bacon, a wonderful sweet and savory sauce that was a great compliment to the bitter sprouts. They were sprinkled with sesame seeds that they grow on the roof. OK that part isn’t true. What IS true however is the    9    Rating. The Sunny Egg was a bit under done though. A bit of a letdown for a near perfect start. This is a definite re order item.

Diane:

If brussels are on the menu, any menu, anytime of the day…I will most likely order them. Steamed with butter and salt, or baked and served with a dipping sauce…..they are just so yummy and vibrant. A vegetable that says, “hey you, I am a force to be reckoned with, and now that you are a grown up, its time you forget those long nights sitting sullen at the family table staring at your stone cold  vegetables, and give us a try!!!”  Yes indeed, these brussel sprouts spoke to us. Halved and browned nicely, with a generous sprinkling   of toasted sesame seeds and a sweet chile sauce, amazing! Smoky  and meaty bacon pieces mingled with the veggie, and Sunny egg with crispy edges sat on top. I am still thinking of this dish, a week later.   9

Solstice Restaurant Western Springs
Brussel Sprouts

Solstice Restaurant Western Springs
Brussel Sprouts

 

2

Farmers Toast

House Made Goat and Lamb Sausage House Made Jam Sous Vide Mushrooms

Again a proud introduction of the dish by the Chef

I’m no food Anthropologist but I’m pretty sure that Toast has been around since Fire and Bread were invented. Some genius Chef decided that if he made some really scrumptious toast he could get 8 or 10 bucks for it. BOOM Avocado Toast is seen on menus everywhere. These boys  Sexy Toast game is on point. The sausage is pretty spicy but not stupid. The salt level is perfect.  This interesting combination of stuff made for another rare score of   9   It was again topped with a SS Up Egg and although better than the last one still had some snotty whites.  Another reorder item.

Diane:

Wonderfully inventive interpretation of savory french toast. Aside from the underdone Sunny egg, every bite of this dish hit the mark. The homemade tri-berry jam was not too sweet, and the house sausage was tender, not tough and chewy as some patties can be. There was a nice savory TANG without the salty sausage aftertaste. The toast was tasty but a bit overdone, otherwise a very nice dish    7

Solstice Restaurant Western Springs
Farmers Toast

Solstice Restaurant Western Springs
Farmers Toast

Solstice Restaurant Western Springs
Farmers Toast
Hated It

 

3

Brunch Poutine, Sunny Side Up Egg, Fried Chicken, Pimento Cheese, Potatoes

Another excellent table side presentation

Iv’e had breakfast Poutine at another place that I can’t remember. Possibly in Portland. It was A more traditional Canadian style version with Mushroom gravy and a soft cooked egg. This version is an elevated rendition. I have been inspired to serve Pimento Cheese with my eggs in the future. The chicken was tangy and mostly crispy. Most of you know that I’m not big on Fried Chicken but this is a winner winner. The potatoes tasted pretty fresh not at all like most places house potatoes that seem like they have been a Hotel pan on the steam table for a week. This delight was Tangy Spicy Crunchy and Creamy.  The Egg was the only miss in this Extra Delicious HIT.    9  

Diane:

When Lucas presents each dish, you can clearly tell he really enjoys his life’s work. Not only does he describe the dish’s content, but how it is prepared. No shortcuts in this kitchen!! The fried chicken pieces were soaked in buttermilk and spices, and it was evident that extra time is taken to ensure clear and distinct flavors. I loved the potatoes, they were definitely freshly prepared. The pimento cheese sauce was smooth and lightly bathed the potatoes and chicken. I am discounting the Sunny egg because as a rule, I do not eat them.

Something I noticed about each dish we tasted is that the chefs are highly skilled at spicing in proper proportions. Each bite of each item was so flavorful, but never screamed of one essence. Specifically, flavors never battle each other for attention. The combos here JUST WORK.    9

Solstice Restaurant Western Springs
Poutine

Solstice Restaurant Western Springs
Poutine

Solstice Restaurant Western Springs
Poutine

 

4

Brioche French Toast , Two Eggs

Instead of the Eggs I requested Grits. I wanted to try them.

Yes I know. I can hear your telepathic thoughts. French Toast Geno? I  was feeling brave. What am I talking about? Read my French Toast musings on the rant page.

While we were waiting for the FT we were treated to a Glazed Raised Donut from Stans Donuts. I am generally not a fan of these. I prefer glazed old Fashioneds however it was tasty. One of the best I’ve had. The dough part of the donut actually had some flavor. It was amazingly light and fluffy.    7

Diane:

I loved that a SUV pulled up the one of the front parking spaces, and a woman with a cute swingy ponytail got out with four large boxes of bakery goods. Here Comes the Donut Girl , I thought. It was a delicious gift from the owner, and it was light and fluffy and good 8

Solstice Restaurant Western Springs
Stans Donut

Solstice Restaurant Western Springs
Stans Donut

 

Gene:

Lauren brought the French Toast. I tasted the Syrup first. It was real Maple Syrup. Kudos to the decision not to wimp out and serve that other junk. The FT was spiked with Nutmeg and something else that I couldn’t identify. It was fairly well soaked in the batter. It could have used a few more seconds. It was a good representation of proper french toast. Custardy and moist.    8  

Solstice Restaurant Western Springs
French Toast and Grits

Solstice Restaurant Western Springs
French Toast

 

The grits were above average. Extra cheezee. They needed a bit more cook time but weren’t gritty. Yummy    8

Diane:

Gene and I agreed that the French toast had a distinct nutmeg flavor but could not discern the other spice. It was not cinnamon but may have been clove. Either way, this was velvety smooth and soft inside, and the real maple syrup was heated and a nice touch.      8

The cheesy grits were aptly named. So very cheesy, possible a very sharp cheddar. They were nicely peppered and a proper complement to the sweet FT.      7

 

Solstice Restaurant Western Springs
Grits

 

You know what I hated about this place? Nothing

 

Well thats it Gators. This was like Downtown quality without having to deal with the parking. The place was standing room only when we left but was mostly families. There was surprisingly zero Hipsters.

I really appreciate when restaurant owners have the drive and the passion to put out a top notch product. it’s not easy and it shows in the end result. Thanks for the hard work. I will definitely be back.

As for us we’re off to our next adventure.

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Solstice Restaurant Western Springs
Diane and Menu