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Six Reasons We Return To Charlatan For Brunch Every Sunday

By Melissa McEwen in Food on Jul 10, 2015 2:50PM

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While Charlatan (1329 W. Chicago Ave.) might be best known for their house-made pastas, it's their brunch we make sure to attend every Sunday. Sun streams through the open windows as we enjoy a brunch menu that will please even people who prefer lunch, as well as staunch brunch traditionalists who yearn for eggs and pancakes. Here are some of the highlights that draw us back again and again.

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Malted waffle with cinnamon butter, toasted pecan crumble, maple syrup, amaro whipped cream

1. The waffles and pancakes: waffles vs. pancakes is one of brunch's eternal battles, and here they are locked in delicious d├ętente. You should probably bring at least one person with you so you can share rather than choose. The crispy waffle is topped with delicious salty-sweet pecan crumble, bittersweet amaro whipped cream and a generous dollop of cinnamon whipped cream.

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Lemon ricotta pancakes with bourbon maple syrup, milk jam, a cup of Sparrow Coffee

The pillowy lemon ricotta pancakes are like lemon pie in pancake form and are topped with a custard-like confection milk jam (milk cooked down with vanilla and sugar) and warm maple syrup.

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Acheulean Maria, with a bone marrow salt rim, pepper pork belly carbonara

2. Bone marrow bloody mary: what started off as a Reader Cocktail Challenge has become a brunch staple for me as the Acheulean Maria on the menu. Bartender Alex Enoch has managed to make a drink that's not just a stunt, but actually tastes amazing, intensifying the savoriness of a traditional bloody mary.

3. Pasta for breakfast: Their house-made pasta is just as good of a breakfast as pancakes, especially since its topped with a perfectly poached egg and a slab of tender pork belly. Or if you want to eschew the trappings of breakfast like eggs altogether, they offer their savory wild boar ragu on top of rigatoni with parmesan and crispy kale.

4. Cookie in a cocktail: if the Acheulean Maria is a bit too scary for you, the Milk & Cookie will please almost anyone. It's infused with Glayva, a Scottish honey, tangerine, and cinnamon and almond liqueur and topped with an actual chocolate chip cookie.

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Bruschetta - toasted ciabatta, "eggs in purgatory", 'Nduja whipped ricotta, calabrian chiles, parsley, avocado toast topped breakfast radish, micro scallions, lemon juice, calabrian pistou

5. Italian-style toast: why have plain toast when you can have it as bruschetta topped with "eggs in purgatory" (cooked in tomato sauce) and ricotta infused with 'Nduja, Calabria's famous soft spicy sausage. Or Charlatan's version of what has become a California classic: an avocado toast topped with Calabrian pepper pistou and lemon juice infused crispy breakfast radishes.

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The cinnamon roll

6. The sides: while the "sides" section of the menu is normally a bit dull, here it has gems like their "tater tots," which are not the ones from the freezer bag you're used to, but nuggets of crispy freshly grated potato served with aioli and grated cheese. Or the absolutely gigantic cinnamon roll that's probably as big as my head.