Excellent Meals for Around $20 – Longman & Eagle

I know I tend to write long reviews, so if you read nothing else of this post know this: you should try this restaurant.

Longman and Eagle is an award winning restaurant/bar/inn in Logan Park.  Last fall, L&E had the distinction of receiving the most eyebrow raising Michelin star in all of Chicago (excepting perhaps L2O).  L&E is very much the black sheep out of the Michelin selections for this year.

Which isn’t to say the food is subpar.  But it’s not what I associate with Michelin.  Longman & Eagle has a hip, lumberjack-y vibe and a simple, unpretentious menu.  Before L&E received it’s star, I never would have expected that  a Michelin starred restaurant would offer a PBR breakfast, unless it was ironically priced at $120.  Longman & Eagle offers one for $8.

My recommendation?  Go for brunch on a weekday.  L&E doesn’t take reservations and the wait on weekends can be unbearable.  Brunch is served every day from 10 AM – 3 PM.  Admittedly, it’s difficult to get to from UChicago without a car.  A one way trip takes a little over an hour.  But if you love food or just want to make a day of it, it’s worth the trip.  (Protip: if you’re taking public transit and anticipate having several stops across the city, use a day pass.  They’re $5.75 and available at some L stops and retail locations.  It’s useful to keep a few stashed in your wallet.)

I had the Peeky Toe Crab Benedict ($13).  It was wholly satisfying. Granted, eggs benedict is less about innovation and more about flawless execution.  But I was impressed by the layering of the flavors.  The old bay infused hollandaise was a nice touch.  A solid brunch offering overall, though perhaps lacking textural contrast.  Nonetheless, I was very happy with my choice.

My friends had the Wild Boar Sloppy Joe and the Roasted Beet Salad, which they both enjoyed very much.

To drink, I ordered a Bitter Whisper (a gin cocktail).  As a side note, Longman & Eagle takes whiskey very seriously (their slogan is “Eat, Sleep, Whiskey”) and offers $3 whiskey shots every day.

A great brunch and an excellent example of gourmet food within the reach of a student’s budget.  Deserving of a Michelin star?  In my opinion, definitely not.  Which isn’t to say I think L&E isn’t as good as a Michelin starred restaurant.  I just don’t think L&E provides anywhere near the same experience as the other starred restaurants in the city.  For one, there’s a lack of precision in the cooking and plating.  Michelin starred restaurants adhere to the strictest standards of quality, and the difference between two dishes of the same name should be near imperceptible.  My experience at L&E was excellent, but not Michelin worthy.

That being said, I would still highly recommend L&E for brunching in the city (and I actually prefer it to Lula Cafe,another popular brunch destination located about two blocks down the street).  The food, beverage, atmosphere, and value are tough to beat.

Brunch at Longman and Eagle – $25 (food, beverage, tax, and tip)

Four stars:

Longman & Eagle

The interior dining room of Longman & Eagle

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