Nightwood - Brunch

September 17 2009 - 12:27 PM

Nightwood is a relatively recent addition to the neighborhood of Pilsen, brought to you by the owners of Logan Square’s Lula Cafe. With a market-driven contemporary American menu that changes daily, the restaurant has been hailed as a diverse bite in a sea of tacquerias. Their Sunday brunch service is an even newer phenomenon, having been around only since mid-August.

Located on an otherwise quiet stretch of Halsted, Nightwood attracts a trendy crowd of discerning locavores and fixie-riding hipsters. On this particular visit, I arrived bright and early at 10 am, out of fear that Nightwood would be swamped with Bongo Room-esque lines. Much to my happy surprise, we were able to get a table without a wait, but I expect the crowds to build in coming months as the secret gets out. In the meantime, there is ample street parking near the restaurant.

One page of the brunch menu includes small plates and starters, while the other side features full entrees. We began with the grilled blueberry muffin, which featured berries inflatable water slide of mouth-puckering tartness and fresh sweet butter. I was also tempted to order the chocolate donuts being delivered to the table next to us.

Though chicken and waffles are a classic Southern staple, I had never had tried the combination before and was enticed by Nightwood’s sophisticated makeover of the dish. In this rendition, waffles are covered with creme anglaise, stone fruit, and cashews. The fruit and nut topping almost renders syrup unnecessary, but Nightwood’s intense maple syrup is not to be missed. Three fried chicken wings came with the waffles, and while these could have used a bit more seasoning, the coating was still crisp and delicious.

We also ordered the grilled trout, prepared with some Latin influenced sunnyside up eggs, black beans, cilantro cream, pickled jalapenos and a wedge of grilled cornbread. For the squeamish, the trout does arrive whole, head and all, but it is easy enough to pick the flaky meat off the bones.

The brunch menu also includes some items more suited for lunch, like cheeseburgers or a Gunthrop Farms-sourced BLT. I was a bit surprised that there weren’t more vegetarian-friendly items, but when prompted, our server mentioned that an off-the-menu vegan tofu scramble was available. And should the plethora of complicated dishes leave you yearning for simpler times, you can also order two eggs with toast and hash browns for a cool $6.


2119 S. Halsted
(312) 526-3385