|White Oak Tavern|
When I stopped by around noon on a Sunday, I was immediately impressed with the ambiance. The dining room is split into three rooms, each with its own vibe. The kitchen is partially open to the main dining room which features exposed brick and neutral-colored furniture. The interior design was very well done. I was seated in an adjoining dining room with a beautiful fireplace while I waited for the two fellow foodies who I was dining with. Thank goodness I arrived first because it allowed me to peruse the menu which instantly had me craving everything on the menu.
The brunch menu is medium-sized I’d say, with 12 entrees, plus a selection of sweet and savory side dishes. It’s not often I find myself wanting literally everything on a brunch menu. Luckily Chef Tom Van Lente (TWO, Big Star) came out to our table and we were able to pick his brain on what to order. Ultimately, we decided on five dishes and one side…you know, a light brunch. Chef’s favorite dish on the brunch menu (it was really hard for him to pick just one) is the chilaquiles. I’ve had some bad chilaquiles in my day, and let me tell you, it’s a huge buzzkill. Fear not, the chilaquiles at White Oak are the real deal. A heaping pile of tortilla chips are topped with salsa verde, cilantro, onion, queso fresco, crispy pork, and two fried eggs. The eggs were so perfect, I had to take a video of the “twerking” egg yolks. Can we get #EggTwerk going please?
The other savory dishes we tried included avocado toast, which sounds basic, but had a very fresh touch. White Oak uses bread from neighboring bakery Floriole, so you already know this is not ordinary avocado toast. They slightly mash the avocado and top it with pickled red onion, feta, arugula, radish, cilantro, a ton of citrus, and bacon. Tell me that’s not a killer combo. I loved the fresh preparation of this dish, as well as the beautiful plating.
The next savory dish was the White Oak burger which is always available on the menu. The burger is topped with butterkase cheese, aioli, pickles, and your choice of an egg or bacon (we opted for an egg). It’s all held together with a shiny brioche bun which did its job not getting soggy. Nobody likes a bun that gets soggy with the bloody grease of a patty. Like any good burger, it’s served with tavern fries and a side of smoked chili ketchup. The fries had a lovely crispy and not greasy texture.
|White Oak Burger|
The last savory dish was one of my favorites, a unique take on chicken and waffles with buttermilk waffle segments sandwiched around crispy chicken topped with maple butter, fresno chili puree, pickles, arugula salad, and pimento cheese on the side. If you’ve never had pimento cheese, you haven’t lived. I loved spreading the salty cheese on the waffle which acted as a savory contrast to the maple butter. The presentation of this dish was also pretty awesome.
|Chicken & Waffles|
I loved the two sweet menu items we tried (pretty much a given with the size of my sweet tooth). The first was a cinnamon roll with cream cheese frosting. It's funny this is listed as a side because it’s so large it could feed a family of four. The dough was flaky and dense like a biscuit, but tasted light when you bit into it. They slapped that cream cheese frosting on generously and it tasted heavily of cream cheese. If you love cream cheese frosting on red velvet cake, you’re gonna lick your fork clean.
Our second sweet dish was the French toast made with sliced brioche which effortlessly soaked up the egg mixture. The toast triangles were topped with coffee cream and chai maple syrup. The coffee cream was the cream to my coffee! So decadent, creamy and rich. It was heaven on a plate and I was the lucky one who got to take this dish with me (I ate it for dessert that night—divine!).
I had a wonderful time at White Oak Tavern, so much so I was there for three hours! It’s the type of place you can gather with friends and enjoy a casual and leisurely meal. I can’t remember the last time I went to brunch and wanted everything on the menu, and everything I ordered was delicious. White Oak Tavern is raising the brunch bar! Our service was fantastic, and I felt the price point was comparable to other Lincoln Park brunches with entrees ranging between $10 and $15.
Note: My meal at White Oak Tavern was complimentary; however, all opinions are my own.
White Oak Tavern
1200 W. Webster Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614