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Grassfed Brings The Beef To Brunch

By Melissa Wiley in Food on Aug 20, 2012 4:00PM

Brunch has become such an ossified institution in our society that we sometimes forget it’s still essentially fictitious, coyly combing two discrete meals, breakfast and lunch, that serve two wholly different purposes. Too few restaurants sufficiently reward you for waiting so long to eat a real meal. Enter Grassfed, a Bucktown steakhouse that succeeds where other bruncheries fail by bringing the beef just in time.

Perhaps only a steakhouse nestled between some of Bucktown’s finest dress shops and bedecked with well-manicured topiaries, whitewashed farmhouse chic walls, and chandeliers cut into sloping art nouveau curves could succeed so well in this venture, pleasing the eye without paltering with the stomach. Offering scrumptious fare for the vegetarian crowd while giving meat eaters and aesthetes their full, insatiable due, Grassfed brunch doesn’t feel like a compromise.

Don’t get us wrong—we adore airy midday nibbles—but when we’re delaying our breakfast by a couple of long, leisurely hours for a sociable brunch, we need more than pancakes and someone else’s aunt’s syrup to satisfy our raging appetites. Unhurried weekend banter can only sustain us so long. By 11 pm, latest, we’re savagely poised to cut all the idle chit chat over nothing but coffee with a knife that we’d prefer were already coated in butter. Ideally, we’d like nothing less than a steak to reward us for our patience. Until Grassfed came along, however, we simply didn’t know we had the option this time of day.

As its name suggests, Grassfed serves only locally sourced grass-fed beef, which brainy people in lab coats have determined is higher in omega 3s than that from corn-fed cows. It’s also worth noting that the daytime steak portions at Grassfed aren’t trying to rival Denny’s grand slam for most carnivorous content for your buck. Yes, because this is a steakhouse, you’re free to avail yourself of succulent sliced steak with most of the entrees on offer, but only in sizes in proportion to the human stomach (gasp). You can also easily sate your vegetarian sweet tooth with waffle pieces served with mascarpone cheese and berries ($12) or banana bread French toast topped with bourbon syrup and pecans ($11) if you’re just not feeling the beef.

In addition to the breakfast burger, topped with a fried egg and Hollandaise sauce for an extra protein punch ($11) and the steak and eggs ($14 and served to order), we also tried the green eggs—no ham—($9) featuring egg whites mixed with avocado and arugula, all served with a side of fried potato squares. Orange juice comes freshly squeezed, and there’s limitless locally-roasted pour-over coffee from Passion House. Possessed of a distinctly feminine sensibility, Grassfed feels closer to a steak gazebo or steak veranda than a whole hulking house, if only because the abundant light that filters into the space seems to have worked its way onto the menu as well. So no bulging oiled leather chairs here. Only charmingly distressed wood and enough meat to stimulate the umami sensors, not glut them into oblivion.

Grassfed is located at 1721 North Damen Avenue.