Avec is the biggest score for brunch since Roscoe combined chicken and waffles. And just as at dinnertime, their brunch menu is full of deviceful twists and turns, putting a distinct stamp on the Sunday ritual.
'the brunch dish' on Serious Eats
Dining at m.henrietta is like wrapping yourself in a blanket knit by your grandma. Everything about this cottage-esque Edgewater nook wafts of comfort, most especially the "screw the New Yearʼs resolutions" menu of sweet and savory indulgences.
While chef Chris Pandel famously serves up some of the cityʼs most intriguingly meaty fare at dinner, some of the best dishes on the weekend brunch menu are just as hearty. Interspersed with a few sweet dishes, brunch is a showcase for eye-opening foods of a savory persuasion.
The french toast at Nopa is justly famous; as much a custard as a breadstuff, loose and weeping cream as you press your fork in. The secret is a base of eggy pan de mie (soaked in lots of cream), just crisped on the edges and crowned with honey butter. This winter's version is strewn with strands of meyer lemon marmalade; syrup is optional and a little obscene. Even a half order is really more than one person can handle. Instead, go family style, and choose something savory first.
When I heard that The NoMad was offering a sandwiched version of their incredible chicken—foie gras, truffles, brioche, and all—on their brunch menu for only $26, I suddenly thought to myself, hey, now I can finally afford to eat Daniel Humm's roast chicken whenever the mood strikes, before my line of thought stopped with a big mental record-scratch: wait a minute. That's a $26 chicken sandwich. Could it possibly be worth the price? I saw it as my duty to find out.
In another case study of smart young chefs reclaiming Asian fusion cuisine for the better, Jonathan Wu is reworking brunch through a Chinese lens.
It takes a lot for me to order pancakes for fear of all the bland, leaden, and sickly sweet versions out there. Perla's are a different story, and that's before you get to the foie gras butter.
Dale Talde's first Park Slope spot has been serving dinner to packed crowds since January, but just recently added a brunch menu, and so far, there isn't much of a wait. When word gets out, though, I'm guessing that will change.
Although Dunlays on the Square isn't a new member of Logan Square's food community, there are still some great standbys on their menu that make it worth checking back in every now and again.
I don't typically find myself dining down in the Loop for brunch, but when I do, I like to choose one of my go-to restaurants, Atwood Café, which is located in the historic Reliance Building. Their dinner has always impressed me, so I was curious to see how their brunch stacked up.
Birchwood Kitchen's Croque Madame is the ideal dish if you're not sure you want breakfast or lunch. The country ham, gruyere cheese, and Dijon mustard on hearty grilled sourdough bread all make for a memorable sandwich, but the sunny side up eggs on top of the dish serve as a nice reminder that the clock hasn't hit noon just yet.
The hole-in-the-wall venue in Logan Square known as Pancho's was recently revamped into Township, a venue/bar/restaurant combo, which also happens to serve brunch on the weekends. But how does it stack up to the many other new restaurants that have opened up in the neighborhood?
In all my brunch adventures so far, I have tried to stay away from obvious American brunch staples in hopes of exploring Chicago's more unique offerings. Noble Square's Branch 27 made me venture back to the safety zone, however, with their version of everyone's favorite egg dish: the omelet.
I like to consider myself a connoisseur of Eggs Benedict. Hollandaise sauce, ham, English muffins—I can pretty much taste the flavors in my sleep if I wanted to. But the Short Rib Eggs Benedict ($18) from Sprout was unlike anything I had ever ordered for brunch before.
Chicago Q may be known for serving excellent barbeque, but their brunch menu is not to be ignored. The real standout dish among the five, though, is the Kobe Brisket Hash ($10.50), which is served with two eggs any style (I got mine scrambled) and two crumbly cheddar-chive biscuits.
For all the fancy reinterpretations of brunch classics I have tried since the start of this column, sometimes it's nice to remember what prompted my love of that special time in-between breakfast and lunch. Old Town Social serves up a basic no-frills breakfast dish that prompted me to remember this past weekend why the classics are just as important as their modern breakfast bedfellows.
I may never get to afford to dine at Alinea, but I can now say that I know what $24 fried chicken and waffles tastes like. Yes, that's right, at chef Art Smith's Table Fifty-Two in the Gold Coast, the fried chicken and waffles brunch specialty is a whopping $24.
Sometimes it is necessary to go back to brunch basics. That's definitely the case when you're dealing with one particular time-honored brunch tradition: the hangover. Finding myself with that all-too-familiar feeling recently, Wishbone's breakfast burrito was thankfully able to cure my ailment.
At Vincent in Andersonville I found myself staring at the phrase "the best" printed on the menu next to the corned beef hash ($12). The best! How could I resist, especially since it is braised for 12 hours?
Ever since former Charlie Trotter's chefs, Gregory Ellis and Steven Fladung, opened their new Lincoln Park breakfast and lunch outpost, 2 Sparrows, last year, I knew I had to put their latest endeavor on my "must brunch" list. (And yes, an actual list does exist.)