Solid as a Rockit brunch

Not counting the hoards of tourists, suburbanites and other slow walkers that dominate Michigan Avenue, is it just me or does the rest of River North seems to fade into a ghost town on Sunday morning? Are people too unmotivated to leave their respective neighborhoods to venture back into that familiar commute that consumes most of our 9-5 lives? Or is it a source of hung over déjà vu from the night before? Apparently neither. I have no idea where the masses came from based on the total of three pedestrians and five cars that I encountered on my walk from the CTA to Rockit Bar & Grill, but brunch was bustling Sunday morning.

Rockit’s popularity is warranted, so the numbers weren’t unexpected. After all, the bar and grill thrives in the evening with popularity of its upscale-yet-casual, Ed Hardy-esque atmosphere and gourmet bar food featuring their prized Kobe beef mouthgasm better known as the Rockit Burger. However, I was pleasantly surprised by Rockit’s ability to cater to masses without the process of parking, excessive wait times and space issues that our usual brunch suspects in Andersonville, Lincoln Park and Wicker Park all have.

Despite its bar image, Rockit keeps an all-ages accessibility to their brunch, with non-offensive live acoustic music and flexible group seating. Because my friends hate me and value sleeping over meeting me — even though we spoke at 10 a.m. that morning — I comfortably ate my feelings alone in the form of a Breakfast Burrito, something you can do too if your friends happen to hate you.

Much like their dinner menu, Rockit adds gourmet touches to standard items, with a focus on quality over eclectic appeal — something that is always appreciated. The Breakfast Burrito was your run-of-the-mill egg/chorizo stuffed tortilla with fresh ingredients. But a splash of one of their 40 or so different hot sauces took it to another level.

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Would you like to contribute to the new camera fund?

For $5, Rockit will make you their house Bloody Mary, and then let you loose on a selection of hot sauces, spices, shrimp, olives, and other fixin’s. Unfortunately, despite drinking them constantly, I have no idea how to make a Bloody Mary, let alone jazz up one sitting in front of me with anything more than a couple grinds of pepper and a celery stick. A table tent with suggested pairings to avoid the inevitable user error of completely fucking up a perfectly good Bloody Mary would be a nice addition to the bar. On the plus side, the Bloody Mary holds its own, even without all the other accouterments — including a substantial, but not overwhelming amount of Three Olives, which is still very sweet for $5.

On the lunch end of things, the Rockit Burger is available throughout lunch, as my waitress noted that people love it enough to order it at 10:30 in the morning. After having a bite of it, I can see why. It’s probably one of the most delicious burgers I’ve ever eaten, ever. I had been told the Rockit Burger was amazing, but I was skeptical, and I was wrong for being that way. I hate to beat a dead cow, but Rockit could definitely survive just by selling that burger alone; it’s that good.

My least favorite of the batch were the Rockit Pockets: Philly Cheese Steak stuffed egg rolls. I can be a sucker a late night fry fest, these were just didn’t sit well with me. Apparently a lot of people disagree with me, as these are a very popular item on the menu. Luckily, a cup of coffee and espresso-sized mini crème brule salvaged them, as well as the lingering memory of their heavenly Rockit Burger.

Overall, the menu, service, ammenities and reasonable wait time make Rockit an excellent choice for brunch in River North. And you really can’t go wrong with $5 Bloody Marys. Am I right, or am I right?

Rockit Bar and Grill is located at 22 W. Hubbard St. in River North. For more information, call 312.645.6000.

— Carly Fisher

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