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The Publican Kills It at Brunch

Even the scrambled eggs are a revelation.

Avocado scramble at The Publican   Photo: Carly Boers

The shtick: The West Loop’s beloved meat mecca does its crazy-successful thing—and throws an egg on it.

The vibe: That same cool beer hall vibe from dinnertime—but not so cool that it’s pretentious—carries over into weekend brunch service. The noisy, busy room is packed with brunchers, and just like at night, you’ll probably be seated at a communal table. (Does anyone actually enjoy that?) Don’t come in search of a zen start to your day. Also, heads up: make a reservation. 7 out of 10

The food: While butchering guru/chef de cuisine Cosmo Goss commands the dinner menu, brunch is sous chef Jacob Saben’s weekly moment in the sun. Proteins feature heavily, but meat-free dishes tempt with “I couldn’t have made this at home” combinations and farmers market goodies.

If you spring for the custardy cinnamon-raisin French toast ($13 and made with brioche from the restaurant’s bake shop down the street), heaped with ricotta, granola, and rhubarb compote, you may as have ordered pie for breakfast, and you may finish with a stomachache. Both fine things in our book.

Dill, crème fraîche, snap peas, sorrel, and mushrooms were folded into—no joke—the fluffiest darn eggs ($14) we’ve ever encountered. The things were just otherworldly. Top things off with sliced avocado that was actually memorable (we’re told it was the Pinkerton variety from a ranch in Santa Paula, California, for all you avocado buffs) and some grilled sourdough, and you’ve got yourself a scramble for the ages. 9 out of 10

The drinks: The half-dozen boozy options include a tempting Journeyman whiskey-spiked variation on the Bloody Mary, but we had coffee on the brain. Unsurprisingly, The Publican gets its own Intelligentsia blend, and it’s predictably strong and excellent. The French press is the way to go, and the 32-ouncer ($11) amply fueled two caffeine-addicts. 8 out of 10

The service: Pacing wasn’t flawless and we were nearly finished with our meal by the time a side of bacon arrived, but the whole crew seemed genuinely happy to be there. 7 out of 10

Overall: Is anyone even the least bit surprised that this place kills it at brunch? 8 out of 10

837 W. Fulton Market, West Loop, 312-733-9555

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