Ladies Who Brunch

Review: Deleece Pub Grille by Kyle and Benjamin
February 19, 2009, 8:34 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

The Ladies Who Brunch visited the original Deleece location at Irving and Southport a few months ago and had a great time, so we decided to check out the newish Deleece Pub Grill in Lakeview on Sunday. It’s a small, intimate space, definitely has the feel of a neighborhood bar/bistro, and if we were the type to ‘watch the game,’ we could see ourselves watching the game here. If you’ve ever asked yourself “what if Deleece was a gastropub?,” which I’m sure you haven’t, this space is pretty much the answer.

The restaurant is small but two waiters were definitely overwhelmed by the Sunday brunch rush. We had a lot of trouble getting our coffees refilled and getting our check when we were all finished–my guess is that somebody called in sick (read: hungover), not uncommon in the brunch game.

The menu featured a high percentage of creative breakfast items. Lobster benedict, breakfast pasta, breakfast mac n’ cheese, and breakfast baked potato all sounded like fun takes on classic dishes. The reality, however, is that adding a couple of eggs to any old comfort food plate does not a craveable breakfast make.

We started with beignets. After Grand Luxe’s giant basket of donut perfection last week, the plate of three chewy beignets was kind of a bummer. Bonus points for accompanying them with chocolate sauce–but minus points for chocolate sauce that tasted like lukewarm hershey’s syrup.

We tried two benedicts, our friend Sarah ordered the spinach and artichoke with sundried tomato hollandaise, and Kyle of course ordered the lobster benedict with truffle hollandaise. Our waitress returned shortly after we ordered to inform us that the kitchen was out of artichoke, so we substituted canadian bacon–not expecting to be charged for a substitution that was forced upon us! This was the most visually appealing of the dishes, the tomato hollandaise was a vibrant salmon pink and alongside the sunny egg yolk and green spinach the plate looked like a scrumptious playdo creation. Probably my favorite out of everything we ordered, the hollandaise in particular was exceptional.

The sauce was delicious, but Sarah had to pay for the Canadian bacon!  Bogus!

The sauce was delicious, but Sarah had to pay for the Canadian bacon! Bogus!

Deleece was very generous with the portions of lobster on the other benedict, but the chewy texture of the seafood led me to believe it was leftover friday/saturday night fare that had been unceremoniously reheated. Kyle loved the truffle hollandaise, which was pleasantly lemony, but I’m of the opinion that truffle oil is a crime against taste buds (the restaurant I work at pours the stuff like its evoo–it only takes a few splashes of this overpowering hemical rotgut to ruin all the other flavors in a slaved over dish).

I don't care what Ben says, I LOVE TRUFFLES.

I don't care what Ben says, I LOVE TRUFFLES.

Our companion, Carl, a voracious pig eater and intrepid curer of meats, expressed deep satisfaction with the totally vegetarian breakfast mac n’ cheese. Unlike just about everyone I know, I’m not a huge fan of the gussied up mac n’ cheeses that adorn every other menu in town, but I really liked Deleece’s version, a relatively like creamy cheese sauce that obviously featured a few quality cheeses–sharp cheddar, some relative of parmesan, and a little gouda or maybe smoked mozz, if I had to guess. I would come back and try this out at dinnertime, too. Macaroni and Cheese bonus tip: using generous amounts of smoky gouda will make your mac taste like bacon–make it for your veg-head friends, deep in their souls they all miss bacon more than anything.

Mac and cheese for breakfast?  Totally genius.

Mac and cheese for breakfast? Totally genius.

The final dish we tried was the breakfast baked potato. It was probably the largest potato I’d ever seen, easily a 1 1/2 lb. spud, stuffed to the gills with 3 or 4 eggs, 2 or 3 thick slices of bacon, two handfuls of mozzarella and at least a cup of sour cream. Probably clocking in at around 1800 calories, I was basically in love. Baked potatoes are a passion of mine, and fully dressed is the way to go. Really I’m surprised I haven’t thought of this by myself. Deleece’s potato could use a little tweaking to really reach the stratosphere, though: something green on the plate, maybe the baked potato’s old friend broccoli, or at least some chives, would have been welcome. And really, the size of potato was impressive, but total overkill. Regular sized potatoes would be just fine.

Potato as big as your head.

Potato as big as your head.

This place has a long way to go before it lives up to the high marks set by its big sister, but it was a fun casual brunch spot, not overpriced, and the hollandaise and mac n’ cheese make it worth a second visit. The pub atmosphere lends itself perfectly to brunching during a sporting event–maybe we’ll return when there’s a good soccer match on. Otherwise, I expect to hit this place up once football season rolls around again.


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