Do you think brunch is romantic? My husband and I do, and recently we enjoyed a brunch at Prairie Grass Cafe in Northbrook. The interior of Prairie Grass Cafe is finished in wood and stone with oak trim, a fireplace, and striking light fixtures that all add to the attractive contemporary setting. Prairie Grass Cafe also has an impressive bar if you are looking for a handsome new place for your cocktail hour. The LCD screens with changing displays of beautiful prairie flowers, wildlife and landscapes entertains as you dine and reminds you that Prairie Grass Cafe uses the freshest seasonal ingredients gathered from local vendors.
We started with champagne and fresh squeezed orange juice, it was brunch after all. Our waiter, Modesto, was on top of everything and served us very well. He was a pure delight, and my much-needed coffee was served promptly! Prairie Grass Cafe has a seemingly normal breakfast menu, but there are a lot of jewels buried in there. They have the traditional Eggs Benedict and several variations of Eggs Benedict. I planned on ordering the traditional because somewhere way back I ordered an Eggs Benedict with spinach and it was completely BLAH. I love spinach and saw it on the menu and thought, “better not.” I looked again and it said it was their “signature” eggs benedict so I thought twice and ordered it anyway. Let me tell you how glad I was that I gave this variation a second chance! Their sauce, which was a roasted tomato hollandaise, was so packed with flavor that I giggled with delight to my husband. We chose to split this dish so we could try several other things and I at once was sorry because I wanted it all! Serving just enough of their wonderful reddish hollandaise but not too much, it almost felt light! A girl can dream.
Having spotted Crisp Waffles on the menu that had bacon in the batter and “Valhrona” Chocolate drizzled over it, we knew we had to try it. Normally I wouldn’t have wanted bacon with my chocolate, but it was really good. Add syrup to the mix and you just had wow. We luckily met Co-Chef/Owner Sarah Stegner, and she convinced us that we must try the Lemon Ricotta Pancakes. Seriously questioning where I was going to put them, we bellied up and tried them. I will preface this with: “I love lemon anything!” These pancakes were luscious, light, and I didn’t even want to put syrup on them as I thought they were fabulous just plain. Bob convinced me to try them with syrup and they were great. These pancakes really reminded me of my mother’s Lemon Glazed cake. The ricotta cheese didn’t fight the lemon; somehow it made it more lemony? All I know is that I wanted to go home and dig out my mom’s recipe for her lemon glazed cake and bake it. You can’t have too much lemon, can you?
Call us crazy, be nice, but we ordered dessert too. It was brunch after all. We looked at their dessert menu that has something for everyone, but Prairie Grass Cafe offers pies-of-the-day. Today’s pie was Strawberry Crème Pie. How bad could strawberries be for you? This pie was so creamy and almost like a light cheesecake. The crust was to die for; I envy anyone who can make a great pie crust – my mom can – me not so much. Sarah’s mom, Elizabeth Stegner, bakes the pies for her. This was starting to sound like home. My mother always made us fresh wonderful pies for dessert for our special Sunday dinners.
After we finished our brunch I glanced at the dinner menu and one thing is for sure. We are going back. Ooh-la la – it has so many inviting things to try!
All photos courtsey of Cindy Kurman, Kurman Photography