Saturday, October 13, 2012

Dragon Ranch Brunch: Review

The Baron and I have a lot of fun in the kitchen together a couple nights out of the week, but we enjoy checking out local restaurants about once a week too. A recent one we checked out was Dragon Ranch in the River North neighborhood of Chicago. Usually we'll go out for dinner but this time, we went out for a pretty unique brunch. First off, Dragon Ranch highlights a fusion of Southern BBQ fare and Thai flavors. Did you catch that? Pretty interesting mix, right? We thought so and we were pretty intrigued by their offerings. We went to Dragon Ranch for their new brunch menu, so new in fact that it was their second week rolling their brunch menu out.

When it came to decide on what we wanted to order, I already knew I was going to get the Thai Eggs Benedict ($13). Eggs Benedict has to be my hands down favorite breakfast/brunch meal so that was a no brainer. But here at Dragon Ranch, their version is not exactly what you'd expect. Their Eggs Benedict is made with a slightly spicy homemade Thai sausage patty set on a toasted English muffin. The sausage is then topped with a poached egg, sautéed water spinach and finished off with a red curry coconut hollandaise sauce. A few springs of fresh cilantro and slices of red chile peppers garnish off the dish. Overall, it was good. I really enjoyed the flavors of the sausage patty and it worked well with the water spinach, which is different from the everyday spinach most folks are familiar with. As for the red curry hollandaise sauce, I couldn't pick up much flavor and the red curry was really subtle, as was the coconut. I think with a little more tweaks to the hollandaise to bring out more flavor, it would put this dish over the top.


The Baron decided on their Biscuits & Gravy ($13). This dish was very different from the traditional Southern version with a touch of Thai. Rather than the typical buttermilk biscuits, Dragon Ranch served up two squares of cornbread, which was topped with a sunny side up duck egg and  a sausage gravy made with the same housemade spicy Thai sausage used on my eggs benedict. Slices of jalapeno and fresh cilantro springs garnished the dish. The Baron thought it was good but not exactly filling enough for a $13 plate.

It's a good thing we also got an order (four slices) of Dragon Ranch's House Made Bacon ($6). We both thought the bacon was good, but at $6 for only four thin, standard cut slices, the price was a bit steep for the portion.

Some other things we noted was that the restaurant does not have cream or half & half to serve with coffee. Instead, they have milk - something I thought was interesting since most brunch spots will have cream or half & half available. Also, Joel was with us and he's a fan of eggs. Although not on the menu, Dragon Ranch was unable to serve up just a scrambled egg for us. We thought it was odd, considering eggs were served up as part of the other dishes offered for brunch. I ended up sharing my Thai Eggs Benedict with Joel {he seemed to enjoy the english muffin and poached egg very much lol}.

Overall, the restaurant was nice, the food offerings had a unique spin and the service was great. I think Dragon Ranch is on their way to providing a good brunch option in River North with a few tweaks. For an Asian spin on traditional Southern fare, check out Dragon Ranch. The Baron and I hope to visit again to check out their BBQ soon!