Longman & Eagle, Chicago – Michelin star in the suburbs
Chicago is a fine town for food. During our morning brew at Intelligentsia coffee, we asked the barista to suggest some food experiences. She recommended we head out to Logan Square, on the blue line train that services O’Hare airport and we duly complied.
Stumbling around as the rain threatened, we found ourselves on North Kedsie Avenue and at the door of Longman and Eagle.
Greedy Girl is ashamed to admit it wasn’t on her radar. The sign out the front said: ‘Eat, Sleep, Whiskey’. Promising words.
She peered in through a window and saw, before the clock had struck 12 noon on this particular day, that the place appeared to be packed. She and gluttonous husband headed in, asked to look at the menu and promptly took up seats at the bar. Looking up at the very impressive array of whiskey bottles on display, there were also four plaques.
Longman and Eagle has been open about four and a half years. It has received a Michelin star in the Chicago edition of that venerable guide each of the past four years. OMG. Greedy Girl and gluttonous husband felt they’d found El Dorado.
Being brunch time, it took a little persuading for Greedy Girl to have a glass, but soon a Domaine de Triennes rose from Provence was on the way for her, while gluttonous husband ordered a Bourdic ‘La Sentinelle’ cab sav, syrah and grenache blend from the Languedoc.
The chef at Longman & Eagle is Jared Wentworth. According to their website, his mission is to prepare ‘globally inspired’ food with an emphasis on local, sustainable and organic produce. It all sounded pretty good.
We ordered two dishes – one from the menu proper and a special and settled in.
Greedy Girl’s dish (pictured above) made her smile. This was sunnyside duck egg hash with duck confit, shallots, yukon gold potato cubes and a black truffle vinaigrette. The obvious care and attention taken with the food here extended to the chef delicately flaking some rock salt crystals over the top of the egg yolks.
This was a seriously yummy dish for brunch. The duck confit just flaked apart and the still runny yolks made a delicious little sauce. While gluttonous husband wasn’t a huge fan of the potato, Greedy Girl enjoyed how their firm texture complemented the softness of the other elements.
Gluttonous husband took one of the day’s specials. This was sauteed pork contained in a natural casing on top of grits, collard greens and a maple syrup sauce with a sunnyside egg on top. It was a sensational combination. The grits, made from ground corn and traditionally eaten at breakfast, had the consistency of a grainy porridge and just soaked up all the other flavours. Gluttonous husband commented that even on its own with the maple syrup it was delicious.
An oyster soup, which looked very creamy but was extremely light, was poured over the top.
We both commented later it was like having a meal in reverse – starting with wine and the heavier dishes and finishing with soup and cocktails. Ne’er mind.
Longman & Eagle, which describes itself as a gastropub, is a fine spot; if it hadn’t been raining we would have explored the area more thoroughly but we were told by some of the other patrons there were a lot of enjoyable bars in particular.
Of course, the thing with recommending any place to eat/drink/stay is that other people will always have different takes. The restaurant ‘takes the good with the bad’ by actively publicising its bad reviews from Yelp by putting them on a postcard they give you when you pay the bill. A timely reminder that it helps to keep your sense of humour as well tuned as your tastebuds.
If you’re having a stopover in Chicago, you can also stay at Longman & Eagle in one of their groovy rooms upstairs – it’s only a handful of stops on the Blue line from O’Hare airport. Greedy Girl is keeping this one in reserve for her next visit to this amazing city.
Longman & Eagle
2657 N Kedzie Avenue, Chicago