The Andersonville brunch war: M.Henry

M.Henry
5707 N. Clark
Chicago IL 60660
773.561.1600
http://www.mhenry.net

Over the past couple of years, the Queen of Andersonville Brunch crown has been passed on from veteran Ann Sathers to a growing number of competing brunch joints on the Clark strip. One such competitor that latched on the trend early is M.Henry, a New American style café/bakery that boasts an ever-changing, original menu of mostly organic and local ingredients developed by owner and chef Michael Henry Moorman.

Sans a few service discrepancies, the culinary buzz circulating this brunch-specific spot is well deserved. Considering the high-volume Sunday table turnover, the kitchen keeps an impressive consistency and quick flow, which is wonderful when brunch is the only meal you can afford to rely on for happiness each week.
Rustic Peasant Quiche

Rustic Peasant Quiche

The cafe accomodates single diners, but I recommend pretending that you’re pregnant and ordering for two if you don’t have someone else to eat with, that way you won’t have to make any big decisions between categorical sweet and savories. But, if you don’t have the cash for more than one plate, consider being wowed over by the Rustic Peasant Quiche ($8.25) with asparagus, sautéed leeks, shallots, applewood bacon, gruyere and lorraine swiss and a lightly dressed field greens salad, and the Florentine crab cake benedict ($11.95) featuring two toasted brioche rounds topped with sautéed spinach, mostly meaty crab cakes, poached eggs, and hollandaise served with a parmesan crisp, and house potatoes.

Florentine crab cake.

Florentine crab cake.

On the sweet side, if you are prone to rationalizing the nutritional value in sweets like toaster strudel becausethere may be a percentage of a fruit source, then consider persuading yourself to indulge in strawberry and blueberry brioche ($8.50) with crème anglaise and granola because it is probably healthier than regular pancakes or waffles. In line with slightly healthier breakfast items, the restaurant also caters to a strong vegetarian and vegan clientele, with no-meat items and meat-substitutes and sides like yuba, tempeh, and veggie sausage available.

The upside about a restaurant that is open daily until 2:30 or 3:00 p.m. (except Monday) is the option of forgoing the Sunday morning brunch crunch of long lines and rushed service with a weekday pick-up. Then again, who has the time to do such things except those with a night job, freelancers (ahem), and the unemployed, who are exempt anyway. So, like everyone else with the Sunday brunch epiphany, you should factor in time for parking and waiting due to the fact M.Henry doesn’t accept reservations.

Waiting time isn’t bad, averaging about 15-25 minutes, due to the extended café space and outdoor seating. But M.Henry still gets a slap on the wrist for not utilizing empty seats in a half-filled restaurant while there’s a huge line out front (note: if you’re in need of waitstaff, there’s an open workforce of  7.5% in the city of Chicago that you should consider hiring from). Overall, M.Henry seems to have proven itself on the competitive Andersonville brunch block as of now and will hopefully keep evolving to maintain.

— Carly Fisher


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