Arts & Entertainment

Chickpea in the City: Hub 51

Photos courtesy of Addie Martanovic

Chickpea-in-the-CitySpending your Sunday in bed with a plate of pancakes sounds pretty ideal when the weather is cold and dreary, but spending it in a restaurant where people serve you delicious and comforting dishes sounds even more exciting. Nothing beats a Sunday brunch, especially when you’ve got a friend to tag along with. Tons of breakfast places in the city tend to serve up overdone brunches, but at Hub 51 (51 W. Hubbard St.), the dishes are plain and above average.

Although it offers brunch, Hub 51’s dim lighting and large, centered bar gives off club energy better for dinner and cocktails. For late-night events, the restaurant has a night club lounge in its basement called Sub 51, that has intimate seating and low tables.

As my friend and I arrived for brunch around 11:30 a.m., we were sat at a high-top table under the strongest lighting the restaurant had to offer, but it was still dim. The brunch menu came with more than enough egg options, ranging from six different omelettes and a separate section of specialty egg dishes such as the breakfast nachos ($13.95). As I glanced at the menu, I noticed how some of the dishes had clever captions such as “we’ll bet one of the ingredients is egg” listed below the omelette of the day. This caught my interest and made me want to check out the other ingredients.

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Aside from the eggs, there are eight different sweet options all under $12. You won’t find any oreo cheesecake pancakes here, but you will find cinnamon skinny pancakes ($10.95), which is a simple stack of crêpes with caramelized cinnamon. Just when the breakfast portion of the menu started to seem overwhelming, my eyes skimmed down to the lunch options, which included salads, burgers, tacos and even sushi, which is half-off from 3 to 6 p.m. and after 11 p.m. daily.

I was tempted to order the “really good ahi tuna burger” ($16.95) because anything with avocado and tuna is a match made in heaven. But because I’m more of a breakfast-for-brunch kind of girl, I ordered the breakfast tacos ($12.95) while my friend ordered the root vegetable hash ($11.95).

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My dish seemed vastly larger than my friend’s. On one side of my plate sat a massive pile of black beans drizzled with a chipotle mayo. A side of corn tortillas and scrambled eggs sat on the other side of the plate. Surrounding it was a small dollop of guacamole and a tablespoon sized amount of pico de gallo. When I have tacos, I love loading up on guacamole and pico de gallo, so the portion of the toppings given was disappointing. When I asked the waitress for extra, though, she delivered it quickly for no extra charge, which was appreciated.

I enjoyed that the tacos came as a make-your-own entree rather than pre-made. The meal was so filling that I could only finish half of the beans. Each piece of the dish was fresh and lacked any strong spices, which was something I personally enjoyed since I am not a fan of spicy Mexican dishes.

Before my friend had ordered her hash, our waitress described it as a large mound of vegetables with two poached eggs and a side of toast. However, the dish looked rather small and the hash was almost hidden by the two poached eggs and nine-grain toast. Unfortunately, she was also disappointed by the poached eggs and thought they were a little overcooked. The butternut squash, beets and celery root placed beneath them, however, redeemed the dish. The caramelized veggies added a sweet and earthy taste.

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Selecting Hub 51 for brunch on a whim was a nice change of scenery from the usual hipster spots we usually attend. The prices are a steal in this part of the River North neighborhood and many of the options can easily be modified for meat-free and dairy-free followers.

Hub 51 also has a separate gluten-free menu. For dinner, the restaurant offers a homemade hummus with toasted pita ($8.95) as an appetizer, and larger seafood plates such as Chilean sea bass with young pea tendrils ($24.95), a large array of beer, wine and cocktails and a separate dessert menu. After attending the restaurant before for dinner, however, I will say I prefer it more-so in the evening rather than early in the day.

For a fun night out on the town with friends for drinks and cheap sushi or a small and simple brunch, this is the place for you.

 

Hub 51 is open Monday-Wednesday 11 a.m. to 12 a.m., Thursday-Friday 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 3 a.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Brunch is served only on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. You can follow Hub 51 on Instagram and Twitter at @Hub51.

 

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