My favorite meal of the day has recently been teetering between brunch and dinner, but after visiting Longman & Eagle, I officially declare that BRUNCH IS MY FAVORITE MEAL.
I mean, what’s not to love about brunches? You get to wake up as late as you want and conveniently name whatever you put in your mouth as “brunch.” It totally justifies the fact that you are either exhausted from pulling an all nighter, or completely out of it because you had too much booze the night before, or you just simply crave a laid-back, casual yet classy dining experience in broad day light.
Longman & Eagle, a restaurant that has received a Michelin star for five years consecutively, specializes in traditional, fine American fare and drinks. Looking from the outside, you don’t assume much from this blue bricked restaurant sitting in a corner of Logan Square, but once you step in, there is no escaping from the warm hustle and bustle. A glance around, and you see wooden furnitures that match the ceiling, a colorful bar, and the restaurant’s slogan – “Eat. Sleep. Whiskey” that is surely hard to miss. And this place stretches out more than what meets the eye.
Open bar- check.
A main, crowded restaurant area – check.
A quieter middle section – check.
An off-site bar that serves as a doughnut shop during weekends (yes, a doughnut shop) – check.
A semi-open seating area – check.
Stephanie and I arrived slightly before noon, and our wait was around 20 minutes. While waiting, we visited the Donut Shop, a pop-up shop that only opens on weekends in the restaurant’s off-site bar. It offers some large and delicious-looking donuts, as well as an exquisite selection of hot beverages and alcoholic drinks. We shared a Darkman & Eagle House Blend ($3), an aromatic and wonderfully roasted coffee that was not overwhelmed with bitterness, the acidity perfectly balanced out with a splash of milk. Both of us agreed that this is one of the most decent coffee we have had in a while.
Once seated, our waitress came over, reciting automatically the items that were newly added and recommended. Noticing that the menu mainly offers a savory selection, we got the Chicken and Waffles ($14, recommended) and Pork Belly Benedicts ($15).
This dish presents two pieces of juicy chicken lightly fried in a batter that was salty and crisp, cooked just to the right texture – they were tender and soft, slightly red to the bone. The chicken sits cozily on top of a thick slab of waffle that is lightly sweet on its own, the maple syrup adding a kick of sweetness to the dish. The waffle is crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, but there is a weirdly sweet flavor to it that I can’t exactly place my finger on. The pork hash brown was the odd spotlight of the dish -these cut pork cubes have a sweet crust and tender and savory flesh, with a thin layer of fat that added a dimension to the taste of this well-executed side dish. We loved it.
There is a lot going on in this dish, a melange of every flavor in the mouth. I needed some time to decipher the flavors. The Hollandaise sauce was a twist on the traditional – it’s sour with a hint of spice, creamier than regular ones. The pork belly is oh-so-tender, oh my gosh. I’m not really a pork person but this pork is out-of-the-blue-good. A surprising addition to the benedicts were the little pieces of dried dates embedded in the pork, adding a pleasant sweetness and crunch to the overall savory flavor. The pita bread was pretty thin, and so it felt more like eating just pork with runny eggs. The potato side dish was delicious, and although it was slightly salty, they were roasted to perfection.
Final thoughts? Well, this place completely got me. Longman & Eagle knows their meat well, and is spot-on in creating a blissful combination of sweet and savory. I’m definitely getting my ass back there ASAP.
Longman & Eagle
Address: 2657 N. KEDZIE AVE, CHICAGO,
Phone: 773 276 7110