All the cool kids/chefs are doing brunch, so it’s about time that Chicago’s Avec, helmed by Chef Perry Hendrix, joined the game. At first glance, the weekend brunch menu has some of the usual suspects, like eggs, pancakes, and french toast. But this is Avec, and there’s nothing typical about their gastronomical wonders.
Only in its second week ever of serving brunch, the menu on July 28 hit absolutely every one of all its marks, starting with the Moroccan ‘berghir’ pancake ($12). But let’s be real; while the pancake itself was good, dripping as it were with honey and butter, the real star was the fall-off-the-bone fried chicken wings, also dripping with harissa, honey, and butter, and a dish that Serious Eats fearlessly enjoyed too.
Another starter is the simple burrata cheese ($12) that once again proves that simple ingredients combined in an artistic and thoughtful way can make for a wonderful dish. The creamy burrata with crunchy marcona almonds is just right, while the pea shoots and strawberry vinaigrette give this dish just enough diversity of flavor.
As for the egg dishes, go for the baked egg ($10), which comes in a decent-size ramekin packed with roasted peppers, crisp pita, white beans, and topped with feta. Even better? All of this is combined in Avec’s best sauce, amatriciana, a guanciale-based Italian sauce, which will have you licking the bowl clean (with the help of some fresh bread, of course).
If it’s a hankering for steak and eggs you have, then look no further than their marinated hanger steak ($15) that sits on a bed of romesco sauce and fried egg. Some summer squash and scallion are thrown in for good measure too. While one of the less adventurous dishes on the brunch menu, it’s packed with flavor too. Then again, even this red pepper romesco has nothing on Avec’s amatriciana.
And then there is, of course, one of the fan favorites, a “deluxe” focaccia baked with creamy cheeses like taleggio and ricotta ($15). But what makes this dish more “brunch-like” is that you can now pair it with a side of house-cured salmon ($27), a la lox on a bagel. While this is a great dish to share – and that is part of this restaurant’s charm – there’s other more inventive dishes that are worthy of a space in your stomach.
Of course, brunch wouldn’t complete without some sort of sweets, and again, it’s hard to go wrong with the restaurant’s house-made nutter butters ($4). There’s only, basically, four bites to a plate, but those last moments will surely be a slice of heaven.
Then again, pretty much every bite of this Sunday meal is heavenly.
Avec is now open for brunch every Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
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