Egon Romney likes Lou Mitchells and so do I.
High rollers like El Panzone still break toast there daily, so it has some vibe, although after 9 AM on a Friday morning, I do not think too many big shots were left. Still, even at this hour (which oddly enough, was considered remarkably early to some other hounds), the place had a hustle-bustle that adds to the experience. No line, but they stop you long enough to offer a donut hole, and the ladies still get a box of milk duds.
Good donuts holes, sweet, partially crispy. The next step in the Lou's assembly line, the coffee, was adequate, better than a lot of places but not ideal. Now, the blue-tinted, "triple-filtered" tank was no longer bubbling, so perhaps this explained the notch-down in coffee quality. Fresh heavy cream on the other hand, does help.
Continuing, we ordered our order--the waitress, coached well, pushed fresh juices, but we did not bite. Then we got the orange slice and prune. The orange is just an orange, but the prune is one hell of a prune. Plumped from soaking in a mix of spices, nutmeg,cinammon and especially clove, I coudld easily consider a complete order at $2.95.
Ms. VI asked for her potatoes well done. They were. So browned and crisp, I am pretty sure they threw the hash browns in the deep fryer for her, a nice twist. My potatoes on the other hand, had an odd and off taste, like maybe the oil was rancid, the one real yuckiness in our meal. My eggs fried sunny-side up tasted of eggs and butter not of the griddle like at cheaper places. The thicker sausages really excelled, meaty, greasy and spiced well. I lucked out and found a piece of bacon dropped in my skillet by mistake. Equally good. Ms. VI's spinanch and feta ommellette was moist and fluffy. She would have liked her onions a bit more cooked (me too).
Greek toast is one of the highlights of Lou Mitchell's. The bread, I believe, made to be toasted. They slather the butter on while the toast is still warm, so by the time you get around to it, the bread is well lubed it is delicious in layers. The house marmelade remains yummy. You have to enjoy a bitter bite to your jam though.
For the team, I ordered a pancake. I think Evil Ronnie is right, the maple syrup does not taste *that* maple, but the pancake was fine enough. Worth ordering if you wanted.
The last course at breakfast is a little cup of soft-serve ice cream. It only lasts until 10:30, and even though we were within the timeframe, we had to kvell to get some. Worth it though. A nice creamy finish.
No eggs benedict, no gypsy-skillets, no breakfast burrito's, no chocolate tower pancakes, and surely no gigantic German pancakes; Lou Mitchells presents the archtypical Chicago breakfast, yet adds extra touches that move it beyond. I'll go to Tempo soon and give a final verdict.
Lou Mitchell's (since 1923)
565 W. Jackson