Brass Heart review image

Brass Heart


Chicago has a lot of great tasting-menu spots to choose from. Say, for example, Oriole, or Schwa, or Smyth. Each of these is excellent and rated above a 9.0. So why would you pick Brass Heart, a very small tasting-menu spot in Uptown, over one of those? You really shouldn’t - unless you want some fancy vegan food that also tastes really good.

Brass Heart has two different 10-course tasting menus—a boring omnivore option that we don’t want you to worry about right now (we’ll get to it in a second) and a $165 vegan meal that’s great. The menu changes, but it’s always made up of pretty, creative vegan dishes that you’ll want to eat regardless if you eat meat or cheese most days of the week. In other words, it’s all objectively delicious, and everything you want to see during a special occasion meal.

There might be a horchata sabayon with parsnips and salsify or fluffy coconut bread filled with fried plantains and hearts of palm. And the smaller courses flow into larger dishes, like a rich vegetable pot-de-feu followed by (if you’re lucky) a pillowy five-spice sweet potato gnocchi. Everything looks pretty enough to feel special, the course progression makes sense, and you’ll leave feeling full but not stuffed.

But like the duller half of an otherwise enjoyable couple, the omnivore menu is pretty basic. There’s nothing grievously wrong with the food, it’s just not memorable. From a lobster chowder you could find at a nice steakhouse, to bland duck breast on a smear of tzatziki, nothing stands out - and at this price, it should. A few dishes are better - the spicy wagyu with broccoli is cooked perfectly, and so is the spaghetti tossed with anchovy butter and parmesan. But unless you also happen to write restaurant reviews for a living, none of these things are worth mentioning ever again.

Other than the vegan food, the most notable thing about dinner here is that—between the size and color of the space—it feels like being stuck in an elevator for three hours. That’s how long a meal takes, without throwing drinks into the mix—which you definitely should. There’s a well-curated wine list with options at all price points, and several pairings to choose from. There’s even a $60 non-alcoholic option, plus fun vegan cocktails like The Dude Evolves, a twist on a White Russian made with oat milk. Of course, adding any of those things will make a meal here more expensive - but those are the kind of important decisions that make you glad you chose to come here after all.

The menu changes often, but here’s an example of what you might find:

Food Rundown

Scallop With Grapefruit Sabayon

Brass Heart review image

Coconut Bread With Hearts Of Palm And Fried Plantain

Brass Heart review image

Carrot Coconut Semifreddo

Brass Heart review image

Vegan Pot-Au-Feu

Brass Heart review image

Featured in

The Best Places To Eat Vegan Food In Chicago guide image
The Best Places To Eat Vegan Food In Chicago

Our favorite restaurants serving vegan food across the city.

Chicago Restaurants With New Takeout And Delivery Options guide image
Chicago Restaurants With New Takeout And Delivery Options

Find something great to eat for dinner at home, and support Chicago restaurants while you’re at it.

The Chicago Neighborhood Delivery & Takeout Directory guide image
The Chicago Neighborhood Delivery & Takeout Directory

Want to know which Chicago restaurants are open for delivery and takeout in your neighborhood? You’re in the right place.

Suggested Reading

Schwa review image

Schwa, the Chicago restaurant equivalent of the most interesting man in the world.

Smyth review image

Smyth serves Virginia-inspired tasting menus in the West Loop, and it’s one of the best restaurants in Chicago.

Oriole review image

Oriole is an outstanding tasting menu spot in the West Loop.

Ras Dashen Ethiopian Restaurant review image
Ras Dashen Ethiopian Restaurant

Ras Dashen is an excellent Ethiopian restaurant in Edgewater with fantastic food.