Analogue: Brunch For People Who Hate Brunch
The problem with brunch is it’s not often really even about the food. It’s a chance for loud herds to recount tales of the previous night’s wasted escapades over mediocre pancakes and watered-down cocktails. It’s not surprising that many restaurant regulars say no to brunch. Thankfully Analogue (2523 N. Milwaukee Ave.) has a brunch for people who simply want to get a really good meal on a Sunday morning with a Southern-style menu that we’d be happy to eat at any time and day.
The small pastry menu by pastry chef Maggie Lalemen changes every week, but you’d be remiss if you didn’t start out with the beignets, which come warm and pillowy fresh out of the fryer, just like they are supposed to be served. They always have these, but the rest of the options change weekly. One week there was a coconut bread which was almost like a lightly sweetened pound cake and came with creamy cinnamon butter. Another week they offered a corn cake with fresh fruit compote.
The entrees from chef Alfredo Nogueira are classics with Southern touches—a ham steak and poached egg nestled amongst a tangle of expertly cooked collard greens and a slice of cornbread. A true mark of a real Southern cook is finding that sweet spot when it come to collards, making sure they aren’t too tough and stringy but also not letting them reduce down to mush. Analogue hones in on that moment, serving up greens that have a bit of chew yet still remain tender, almost like they are braised, mixed in with a kick from mustard and sauerkraut.
Their version of a Scotch egg, the Scott egg, makes good use of their spicy and gloriously porky house-made boudin sausage by wrapping it around an egg with a beautifully molten center and balancing it out with tangy pickled peppers.
You can measure a Southern chef by their biscuits as well, and the ones at Analogue are textbook; flaky, buttery and light. They hold up perfectly when piled with gravy, fried chicken and pickles served slider-style. But simplicity is the way to go when you have such a perfect biscuit—a smear of butter or pimento cheese is just right.
We can’t forget the cocktails though. A bloody mary comes with a pimento cheese-stuffed olive and pickled green bean perched across the rim. The mix has a nice peppery kick, a good amount of acid and heat but not overkill, enough to keep the drink from becoming watered down. You can get normal Cafe Du Monde coffee just like in New Orleans, or you can get it laced with fernet and cream in an “Italians Do It Better Cocktail.” It’s like a darker and deeply complex Thai iced tea.
They like to host a variety of eclectic DJs that spin great music at just the right volume. Analogue is the place to get a meal that’s really too good to even be called brunch. It’s just a great Sunday morning meal in a relaxing environment.