Comfort & Coffee

November 19, 2012

The 2013 Chicago Michelin Guide was recently released, meaning I had the most up-to-date list of must-try Chicago area restaurants. For those unfamiliar with the Michelin's list, it is compiled with restaurants who get either one, two, or three star, with three stars as the highest distinction. Currently, there remains just one restaurant with three stars in Chicago, Alinea. There is also a separate category called Bib Gourmand for restaurants that offer "good cuisine at a reasonable price." One of those is Owen & Engine, a Logan Square gastropub serving up British comfort food. I had heard great things about brunch in particular, so I headed over with the BF around 11 am on a Sunday.

Brunch menu
Not only was there ample free street parking, but the restaurant was not too crowded. We were seated next to the window, allowing gorgeous natural sunlight to radiate onto the dark wooden table before us. The restaurant itself is fairly narrow but conveys the look and feel of an authentic British pub. The rich dark leather stools and the velvet wallpaper made us feel comfortable and cozy.

Bar and dining room
We each started with a cup of coffee, however, coffee at Owen & Engine is no ordinary cup. From the personal coffee press, to the ornate cup with a single shortbread biscuit perched delicately on its saucer, the coffee service is pure perfection.

Ethiopian Sidamo Coffee
French press coffee & shortbread biscuit
The brunch menu offers a variety of small plates that were too irresistible to pass up. After much pondering, we decided on the housemade trio of fresh scones. The scone flavors are seasonal and were a surprise to us until they arrived at our table. We were greeted with three delicate scones: earl grey, chocolate chip and cranberry orange. Accompanying these delicious baked goods was clotted cream and homemade plum jam. Interestingly, the scones each had their own unique texture. The earl grey was crispy and doughy at the same time, the chocolate chip was similar in texture to an extra crispy cookie and the cranberry orange had the most traditional of scone textures. I was in heaven eating those scones, especially with my aromatic cup of coffee.

Earl grey, chocolate chip & cranberry orange scones with plum jam
Although we were fairly full from our flight of scones, we powered through into our main dishes. The number of breakfast items on the brunch menu is slightly limited, but you can tell they purposefully choose to focus on perfecting each dish. The BF chose the salted beef hash which featured cubes of salted, almost cured, beef, crispy potatoes and a runny fried duck egg. The beef certainly was salty but the potatoes were delightful.

House salt beef hash with potato, onion, crispy duck egg
I chose the seasonal vegetable quiche which was filled with mushrooms, leeks and onions and served with a side arugula salad. The crust of the quiche was light, and crispy while the quiche filling had the savory flavors of onions and cheddar. I don't typically have quiche, so I'm happy I took the chance and ordered it. The acidic vinaigrette on the salad was a nice match to cut the pungent quiche flavors.

Seasonal vegetable quiche with mushrooms, onions and leeks
Overall, I was extremely impressed with our experience at Owen & Engine. The atmosphere was relaxing and homey, the service was flawless and attentive, and the food was local and high quality. I must have talked about those scones and coffee for hours after brunch. I even considered getting an order of scones to go, just so I could savor them once again. I can't wait to return for dinner, especially for their Tuesday evening deal: a burger, beer and shot of bourbon for only $15. Owen & Engine gets 5 out of 5 stars!

Owen & Engine
2700 N. Western Ave.
Chicago, IL 60647
Reservations accepted except for Saturday lunch
Owen and Engine on Urbanspoon

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