Sunday, August 4, 2013

Perennial Virant - Brunch

The first few times I met Chef Paul Virant were at chef demos at Green City Market.  At the time, he had a restaurant, Vie, in Western Springs.  I liked what he had to show and it was pretty good so I eventually made my way out to Western Springs for dinner.  I really enjoyed it and have been back a few times since then.  Virant has since opened a sister restaurant in the city called Perennial Virant.  There are a lot of restaurants in Chicago to try out so it has taken me a little time to get there.  I decided to make my first foray a brunch with friends.  As I was familiar with Chef Virant's cooking and had been to Vie a few times, I was confident that we would all like what they had to offer.  The restaurant is located at the edge of the Old Town Triangle just outside Lincoln Park in Hotel Lincoln.  There is a large patio but we sat inside, next to one of the large windows.  The space is large, open, and modern looking with several hanging plants.  The lighting was provided by a combination of hanging lights and track lighting and the large windows that were were on three sides of the dining room.  The entrance of the restaurant was in the center of the restaurant with a large bar and several tables to the left and a large dining room with several large tables to the right.  We were seated at a table to the right of the door and next to the window.  We started out as we often do at brunch with some pastries for the table.  We got a Sticky Bun with Vanilla Toffee and  Toasted Pecans and their Housemade Doughnut which came with Strawberry and White Chocolate Frosting and Fresh Raspberries.  They were both very good and sweet but the general consensus was that the sticky bun was better than the doughnut.  The bun was fluffy with a slight toffee crust, a lot of sticky, toffee syrup, and the nice crunchy toasted pecans.  With the doughnut, the fruit was very fresh and flavorful and there was a good layer of sweet icing.  The doughnut tasted good but it was a fry cake that was a little on the crusty side.

There were many thing on the brunch menu that looked good but luckily, things were made a little easier by friends who ordered things that I was interested in (the Sturgeon Potato Salad and the Corned Beef Hash).  I ordered the Biscuits and Gravy with Two Eggs Sunnyside Up.  In addition, I ordered some Homefries as a side which were served with Brunkow Cheese Curds.  The Biscuits and Gravy were really good.  The biscuits were a little small but fluffy and flavorful and the gravy was made with Gunthorp Farms Chicken Sausage i.e. chicken with actual flavor.  The eggs that were served with the biscuits and gravy just added to the dish.  They were perfectly cooked and tasted very good.  The homefries were well fried and the cheese curds were very fresh.  I expect a good and fresh cheese curd to squeak when I bite into it.  These curds squeaked when I stuck my fork into them.  While the fries were good, I think that I might have liked them more with gravy (which would have then made it a poutine).

As expected, I really enjoyed my meal here.  The space looked nice, the service was friendly, and the food, as expected, was very good.  I would gladly return here and know now that I will have to return for dinner sometime.

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