Crazy about crepes: Icosium Kafe

Icosium Kafe
2433 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60640
773.404.1300
www.icosiumkafe.com

Despite a prime location on Clark Street, the Algerian hole-in-the-wall Icosium Kafe is fairly easy to overlook. Having maintained street residency for years, its sustainability is a bit of a paradox being Lincoln Park’s most obvious secret. The smaller sized cafe doesn’t draw in huge lines like Orange or M.Henry — which I selfishly consider a good thing — but it has the type of specialty gourmet crepes on par with the notable brunch spots that exceed your average jam-in-a-flapjack attempt at global influence.

Open breakfast through dinner with a crepe-only menu, brunch is a relative time here. Then again, brunch versatility is an incentive for those weekday and evening brunch cravings, or those who simply decided to get  their ass out of bed an hour too late for the common 2-3 p.m. kitchen deadline. But let’s be honest here: you came here to know about the food, which I am comfortable with vouching for this fine establishment. Unfortunately, my photo skills don’t do it justice, so bear with me.

First thing’s first: any savory crepe must be paired with Halal Merguez, or Algerian lamb sausage. This is not a restaurant requirement but an edict of personal preference. Vegetarians are naturally exempt, but definitely missing out on some kind of wonderful. Second, it’s important to note that prices here have the ability to be either really cheap or really expensive, and thus categorized accordingly.

At the bare minimum of simply ordering a crepe, your tab may range from $6.95 for most sweet crepes served with whipped cream, such as the Crepe LaBella with banana, Belgian chocolate, toasted almonds and coconut, and $8.50 for savory crepes served with soup, such as the Icosium Crepe with roasted peppers, arugula, goat cheese, caramelized onion, Roma tomatoes, pine nuts, roasted garlic and baby spinach. But, as soon as you start tacking on $2.99 for Halal Merguez on your Crepe Marrakech, and then another $2.95 for Turkish coffee, you might walk out spending $15 plus tax and tip. But is it worth it? Hell yes.

In addition to badass crepes, service is attentive and friendly. And another brunch bonus: carry-out and delivery! Considering the rough parking sitch in Lincoln Park for motorists and the generally inconvenient cross-city commute for public transit riders, Icosium’s delivery is a blessing — and on a pretty wide scale. The Clark location delivers as far west as Western (and says they might even be willing to make an exception for lil’ ol’ me who lives one block west of the cut off line). Sure, you might be willing to walk a few extra blocks when it’s nice out, but are you really going to venture out in below freezing temperatures for an Icosium crepe with Halal Merguaz? Well, probably.

— Carly Fisher

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