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White Oak Tavern & Inn Gets Relaxed Brunching Right

The chicken and waffles stand out from so many other sub-par versions of the dish.

Chicken and waffles at White Oak Tavern & Inn   Photo: Carrie Schedler

The shtick: Tavern-style brunch that’s nicer than your average tavern-style brunch.

The vibe: A place like White Oak Tavern, at least by day, makes perfect sense on this stretch of Webster Avenue filled with upscale clothing shops and bakeries—it’s relaxed but goes a step beyond the standard trappings of similar spots. Whether in its airy dining room or its sidewalk patio, it’s an enjoyable place to hang. 8 out of 10

The drinks: You can do just fine with the standards, but I most enjoyed the Waking Dead ($14), a punchy combo of gin, combier, and sweet vermouth with a final, fleeting absinthe note that sipped easy but tasted more complex than most daytime beverages. 8 out of 10

The food:Roundly satisfying. Best was the chicken and waffles ($14), with crisp edges and a lovely slow burn thanks to a fresno chili puree that made it stand out from so many sub-par versions of this dish. Also great: the well-executed omelet ($12), its eggs soft and fluffy, its kale-feta filling ratio not overwhelming. Chilaquiles were the only miss—the sauce-logged chips were straight-up soggy, with no crunch left, and the whole thing was a bit on the bland side. But as brunches go, it’s a solid option. 7 out of 10

The service: Pleasant and just-present-enough. 8 out of 10

Overall: You, their patio, and chicken and waffles sounds like a great Sunday plan, doesn’t it? 8 out of 10

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