Friends, readers, brunchers. As apparent by daily conversations, weekly weekend plans, and this video examining why our generation is so obsessed with brunch, this hybrid, noncommittal meal is an iconic social ritual. Whether you’re in it for mouthwatering photos to spark jealousy in your friends just waking up in their beds, for comforting post-night-out nourishment, or for the post-night-out gossip, diners always leave brunch with more than they came with. When I was generously invited to a food blogger brunch at Public House, a River North restaurant and bar that doubles as a nightlife hot spot and a casual evening post-work drink and dinner spot, I was excited to put it on my map to triple as a winning brunch locale.
The brunch menu theme is Savory & Sweet, a new menu at Public House, and I was lucky to be a part of the group to taste its debut. While the menu tends to be on the more extravagant side compared to my simple brunch preferences, I got to sample small portions of many items, so it was easier on the stomach and the healthy diet. I also asked for vegetarian versions of some items like the breakfast sandwich, which typically comes with sausage made in house. I was impressed to learn that all charcuterie and meats are made in-house and my dining buddies were impressed with the flavors. Here’s the vegetarian egg sandwich, definitely a savory option with the arugula and roasted tomatoes adding some harvesty earthiness to the eggs.
And the classic yogurt, berry parfait for a sweet and light way to start the day.
And the doughnut fried french toast with cardamom had a texture that took some getting used to, probably because I expect french toast to be soft with a toasty outside, versus a doughnut shell. In small bites, this could be a fun treat to share with friends.
While this isn’t something I’d think to order, it was probably the star of the meal. The crab cake benedict had just the right amount of savory meatiness, with a crisp outside and a melt-in-your-mouth inside. While it is typically served in larger portions, this adorable personal-pan cast-iron skillet was just the right size.
And everyone’s favorite, even in the Midwest – chicken and waffles. I skipped out on the fried chicken with maple syrup and hot sauce. But I was given a sample of the waffles with my favorite taste I had all day (not pictured here) – strawberry vanilla jam that just put a smile on my face. Chef Jeremy said it was a special family recipe that he also loved. I’d like to think I have an advanced palate to be able to pick out one of the chef’s favorite recipes.
And, I’ll end this post with a quick candid shot of two buddies catching up at Sunday brunch. I have a new found appreciation for spectacular food in a bar setting during daylight – Chef Jeremy really knows his foods and flavors and I’m impressed with the inventive, intentionally crafted menu served at one of the neighborhoods only bars/dining establishments in a highly commercial area. My Rebeccammendation for Public House was to offer a brunch sampler as we got to taste so that groups could share in the tasty goodness and not have to commit to a heaping portion of one dish. I must share one last tidbit – try the sticky cinnamon bun that tastes like toffee, leaving a sweet, salty, nutty and feel-good memory on my tastebuds. It’s now public knowledge – brunch at Public House surpasses any general-public, for-the-masses, commonplace expectations of a neighborhood bar and restaurant.