Monday, June 15, 2015

Road Trip: Chicago--Trenchermen

On our recent trip to Chicago, we ate brunch at Trenchermen. This place is very cool inside—it was originally a Russian bathhouse and there are still remnants around of the original tile. There is one large bar space and one large restaurant space. The bar space is beautifully done.

And get this, it’s a brunch place on the weekends and it takes reservations! I know, shocking right? (Please Indy give us some more brunch spots with reservations.)  We were sat in a booth and were all starving because we had skipped breakfast. 

I love the look of this menu for sure and had a hard time deciding what to get. I decided on the “Kyle’s breakfast sandwich” ($12) (which I am pretty sure was called the breakfast Reuben when I was there). It is eggs, pork shoulder and Swiss on an English muffin topped with caraway sauerkraut and mustard aioli. They also give you housemade chips on the side. It’s hard to tell from the picture, but the sandwich was fantastic. I loved the acidity of the sauerkraut and the fact that it wasn’t on rye bread, which is the reason I don’t typically order reubens—it’s not my favorite. It was cheesy and eggy and I loved the sharp mustardy aioli with it. I also really liked the way the shaved pork shoulder made it easy to eat and wasn’t chewy the way pork belly or even thinner bacon can be. It wasn’t a runny egg, but it was still a very juicy sandwich. When you actually think about it, it was a pretty genius sandwich.

One friend ordered the white corn grits and pork belly with Kim chi pimento cheese,  a fried egg and lightly pickled cucumber ($12). When you think about this, it’s pretty genius too. They mixed the pimento cheese into the grits, giving them a more distinct taste than just plain grits. Again, the cukes and Kim chi gave it a hit of acid and the egg was perfect. This dish was also as beautiful in its presentation as it was in its taste. I would happily get either dish again

We also ordered sides of breakfast potatoes ($4) and a pork flight ($14) to split between the four of us. The potatoes weren’t bad—pretty crisp on the outside, but nothing that made me crave more than one or two. The two types of bacon on the pork flight were good—there was Beeler’s bacon and coffee-cured bacon—both had nice flavor and the coffee-cured was interesting, giving  a little bitter touch to the salty bacon. The two types of sausage were less interesting—the links didn’t have a ton of flavor and the house made patties weren’t overly memorable. About midway through the meal we all also decided to go ahead and add a pastry flight as well ($13) and this was a solid choice. I would probably just go with that over the other sides in the future. They were all really quite good, my favorite was probably the ham and Gruyere croissant with mustard and rye because I tend to go towards savory things over sweet, but it was still super buttery and delicious. The rye flavor wasn’t very strong either. But trust me, that pecan glazed doughnut with miso caramel was a knockout too. I love the way they add bit of “umami” flavors into all their dishes to really take it up a notch. And I certainly could not complain about the iced banana bread or little sweet muffins (can’t remember the exact name) either. I was actually surprised by the fact that I really liked each new one I tried. They are doing a great job with their pastries—and like I said, these aren’t typically things I order.

They had some unique breakfast cocktails as well, and our service was quite efficient, even if not super friendly. I really like the interior of this place and I really enjoyed most of the food and the fact that they take reservations. Again, I would love to go back and try a dinner here….if there just weren’t so many places in Chicago to try! But I recommend this place for sure.

2039 West North Avenue
Chicago, IL 60647

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