499 N Main St
Glen Ellyn, IL 60137
May 12, 2008
It's hard to review Honey objectively. It took us a long time to get there, and then we had to drive around awhile longer looking for parking. So by the time we arrived, we were over-hungry and kind of irritable, and there was some construction going on right outside the window, so we had to listen to someone jackhammering through the entire meal. Of course, none of this is the restaurant's fault, but all of it combined to make the experience less pleasant than it could have been.
Honey is similar to Orange in the overall appearance and decor, and even the type of plates. The interior has a clean, open, well-lit look. Maybe my experiences at Orange colored my perceptions of this restaurant, but I expected to find a lot of different, exotic breakfast dishes here. However, the menu is pretty basic. There are plenty of egg dishes, but only a handful of carbohydrate-based breakfast entrees, and I happen to like carbohydrates for breakfast. There were pancakes, french toast (which was unavailable because they were out of bread), pan-fried oatmeal cakes, and one or two other things I can't remember now. I ordered the plain buttermilk pancakes, which were delicious, and a side of bacon. Considering how expensive said bacon was (at least three dollars, I think) I was disappointed at how scrawny the pieces were. They were sliced so thin, they were almost transparent.
Joe had the pan-seared oatmeal, which is something I've never encountered before: Oatmeal baked into big, solid triangle-shaped pieces and topped with dried apples, apricots and other assorted dried fruits. Possibly the largest amount of fiber ever packed into a single entree. If you need to--ahem--get the ol' pipes unclogged, this might be just the thing.
In front there's a little cafe type thing where they sell coffee and desserts. I got a vanilla bean cupcake, which I had later, and it was possibly the most intensely vanilla-flavored thing I've ever had. Don't get me wrong, it was good, but I couldn't eat more than a bite or two of it at a time. Maybe if we ever come back here, I'll try the red velvet or the chocolate flavored cupcakes.
Joe here. I'm not even sure I want to review Honey right now but since the chances of us returning there under better conditions any time soon are pretty slim, we'd better just make the best out of what we have. Honey sits in the middle of downtown Glen Ellyn, a pretty nice area that I've never been to before last week. I know, lots of suburbs like to flaunt their downtown authenticity these days -- usually with overpriced condos and banners on lightposts ("Visit historic downtown _____! Theatres! Shoppes! Parkes!") -- in hopes of establishing their street cred, or something. But really, this was a nice town from what we saw. We drove around for a few minutes trying to find unmetered parking spots, but should have saved ourselves the trouble since the one we settled for only cost ten cents per hour.
Our first impressions of Honey reminded us immediately of Orange in Chicago. The clean and cozy dining room was warm and inviting, but in a modern and minimal style that's a big break from the traditional family restaurant setup. The creative cuisine looked very Orange-ish too. No wonder; Honey's menu was designed by an (ex-?) Orange chef. We'd forgotten our camera on our trip to Orange and had to grab a cheap disposable one at the last minute instead. What a shame, since Orange's decor and beautifully-presented food was among the most photo-worthy we've ever seen. The same goes for Honey, so we made sure to bring the digital camera along and took lots of photos. However, tragedy struck again as I deleted almost all of them by mistake! You'll find some fine substitutions here, though.
I ordered the pan-seared oatmeal, which arrived in hefty little triangles decorated in dried fruits and drizzled in honey. It was truly a sight to see. How I wish I could show it to you! A little of this went a long way, and I was forced to box up the leftovers for later. I tried some of Ayinsan's pancakes and they were absolutely amazing. Smooth like velvet, lightly kissed with a touch of honey that gave them a sweet finish, and really unlike any pancakes I've ever had before. I only wish I was in better shape to appreciate them! I wasn't feeling my best that afternoon, and the effects of long drive along with the pounding jackhammer on the sidewalk just outside of the window we were sitting by -- I wouldn't think you could run a jackhammer on a piece of concrete only a few square feet wide for so long, but apparently you can make the experience last for more than an hour if you really want to -- were only further dulling my senses and distracting me from what otherwise may have been one of the best restaurants we've ever been to.
I can't blame Honey for what was a less-than-pleasant dining experience. I'd love to return soon, hopefully under better conditions all around, just to see if it's really good enough to be "the suburban Orange," or maybe even something better altogether. Maybe we didn't completely agree about Honey, but I know we'd agree that finding restaurants like this that are willing to try new things with old traditions sure makes writing this blog a hell of a lot more interesting.