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May 22, 2009

Victory’s Banner

by gastronomicbypass

Location – 2100 W. Roscoe (Roscoe and Hoyne)

In One Word – Y(om)ummmm

Food –VB’s menu is entirely vegetarian and promises that “you won’t miss the meat!” They offer many dishes that may make you believe, including their Famous Meatloaf. Whether or not you’re a fan of fake bacon with your eggs, VB’s food is incredible and worth the trip to Roscoe Village.

My Trusty Sidekick and I met a friend for brunch at Victory’s Banner this Saturday. After a twenty minute wait, we were seated and I was starved. I ordered The Steverino ($9.25), a hefty yet downy omelet with slices of sweet caramelized onions, crunchy red bell peppers, and tangy, creamy goat cheese all folded into it. Heaven! Harmony! I highly recommend this combination of sugar+salt meets fluffy+smooth. Dear Steve of The Steverino: whoever you are, you are a scholar and a gentleman. A side of grilled potatoes with the omelete were good, but nothing spectacular.

Trusty had VB’s award-winning French Toast ($5.95) with a side of Grilled Potatoes ($1.75). Recognized by the Chicago Tribune as the best French Toast in town, the thick pieces of brioche bread had a delicious crust and were skillfully cooked—they were soft, but not soggy in the middle. They were served with peach butter and real maple syrup. Our friend ordered the Oat Bran Raspberry Pancakes ($6.75) which were substantial but fluffy, and had dense pockets of delicious, real unsweetened raspberries in them.

Drink – I enjoyed a cup of peppermint Mighty Leaf tea ($2.25). My Trusty Sidekick had a cup of coffee ($1.85), and our friend, who always makes the best brunch beverage choices, indulged in a mango lassie ($2.95), which is a must-try. It was the thickest, richest mango lassi I’ve ever encountered (even if you flicked the straw, it stood straight up, lodged in the middle of the glass) and one sip took you all the way from the subtle sweet honeyed flavor from the mango to a little bit of sharp tang from the yogurt.

Service – It is unusual for a restaurant to be devoted to offering its guests not only great food but a sense of spirituality, which is what VB’s staff aims to do. Victory’s Banner, named for the phrase “God’s eternal Banner of Victory,” is inspired by the philosophy of Indian spiritual master Sri Chinmoy, who was the restaurant owner’s spiritual teacher for over 35 years. Members of the staff are also followers of Sri Chinmoy, and wear saris and practice meditation before their shifts. While this may sound somewhat cult-esque, that is not the feeling you get at all. The staff are friendly, polite, and work efficiently as a team; their unique dress simply comes off as eclectic and sincere.

Scene – VB is small but cozy. Light-hearted scribbles of birds and colorful abstract paintings decorate the sunny room with yellow booths. Pamphlets on meditation classes at the front of the restaurant may make you feel like you’re in a yoga studio, but the crowd is hardly made up of yogis. There was a wide range of ages and backgrounds in the guests when we dined at VB. Prepare yourself for a wait; when we arrived, twenty or so people were waiting for a table to open up and our group waited 20-30 minutes to be seated.

Dress – Jeans and a sweater work fine.

Cost – With tax and tip our bill for three people was around $40, or about $13 per person. A little bit on the expensive side for brunch, but we felt like it was a fair price for the quantity and the quality of the food we enjoyed.

If you like, try… Kitsch’n on Roscoe, Orange, The Chicago Diner

Written by hungry yuppie

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