Time: Saturday. May 24, 2014. 5:00 PM. Walk-in.
Location: Logan Square, Chicago
Address: 2657 N Kedzie
Cuisine: American, Comfort
Party Size: 3 (M&V; the Garz)
Order: 4 small plates, 1 entree, 5 beers
Pre-tip Cost: $138 [$126 food & drink; $12 tax]
Verdict: It was recommended to us and we recommend it to you.
I spent the first few years of my post-college/new-career life living in Chicago. There were, however, a few small barriers that kept me from understanding and enjoying what the city was all about.
- I didn’t have any money.
- I didn’t have anyone to go out with.
- I didn’t actually live anywhere near Chicago.
The third point is probably the most problematic. I actually lived about an hour north of the city, right off the Wisconsin border and in the middle of suburbia. I spent four or more nights a week hanging out in a TGI Fridays bar, drinking Miller Lite and playing trivia.
This is a long winded introduction to say that, upon returning to Chicago six years later, I had no idea what to expect. Our visit did not represent a return to a place I spent my early twenties, it was essentially an opening to a brand new and unexplored city.
Before the trip was planned, I overheard some internet chatter that Longman & Eagle was on some people’s short list of “must do’s” in Chicago. The place was awarded a Michelin Star, attracts lengthy queues at the door and has a legendary whisky selection – a brief glance at the menu was enough to convince us to give it a shot.
Longman & Eagle is open all day but has a tiered system to their service. Brunch in the morning through the middle of the afternoon followed by a small snack window before dinner service begins at 5. We arrived a little before 5 and, to my surprise, there was not much of a line outside. We put out name down and bellied up to the bar while we waited.
While known for their extensive whisky selection, we all opted for beers knowing that it was the early stage of a long night. The tap list consisted of about 10 options, many of which were local rotating handles while the bottle selection was rather impressive as well (I was heartbroken to see Zombie Dust on the bottle list only to find it out of stock).
After a short wait, about half a beer’s worth we were shown to our table. The menu has snacks, small plates and entrees and there was also an off menu special the waitress informed us of. During her introductory remarks, she mentioned that the kitchen kindly requests the entire order be made at once to facilitate the experience.
M and I took our standard approach of ordering many small things and sharing, the Garz isn’t quite the adventurous eater and went with a single entree (which he ended up sharing about half of due to his preference to eat after a night of drinking, not before).
Beef Tartare, Special Sauce, Lettuce, Pickles, Sesame Seed Bun, Shoestring Fries
The beef tartare was presented as a lovely deconstructed hamburger; complete with a quail egg yolk nested in the top bun. All the components were mixed together and blended nicely. The sweet bun and sour pickle complimented the beef in different but delicious ways. The quail egg did not add much as we mixed it into the bread, not the meat. Still, a great start.
Housemade Burrata, Braised Celery, Barigoule Carrot, Porcini Marmalade, Black Truffle Vinaigrette
The colors presented on the burrata plate were bright and pleasing to the eye. The buratta was light and creamy; my first impression was that it had elements of cream cheese. The porcini marmalade was sweet. The dish came with some tartine to act as a transport vessel to relocate the delicious from plate to mouth.
Lobster Cannelloni with Peas, Mushroom and Salmon Roe
This was the off-menu special of the day. It was presented as a pasta and I ordered it thinking it would be more entree sized so I had a small surprise when it arrived. Nevertheless, the lobster and cream sauce had a rich seafood alfredo feel and the pasta tube the lobster was stuffed in was cooked to an al dente firmness.
Seared Scallop and Foie Gras, Sauteed Turnip, Bacon Lardon, Fermented Leek, Thyme, Sauternes-Melon Reduction
The scallops and fois gras instantly drew a comparison to the Eiffel Tower Restaurant as that meal had one course centered around each. At Longman & Eagle, the pairing of the two was not bad but I feel as if each are better served as a solo act. I will also add that at this point in the night I was getting full and a few beers deep so I was thinking a little less about the food at hand.
Berkshire Pork Chop, Concord Grape Barbeque Sauce, Pickled Grapes, Cornbread Puree, Ramps
The Garz ordered the pork chop and contributed another piece to reconstructing the meals we had earlier in the month – the fantastic pork chop at Mustards Grill. The Longman & Eagle pork chop had a spice rub (cumin based, I believe) on it that was tongue numbing delicious. The grapes were sweet and the meat soft and juicy.
Dinner at Longman & Eagle is a worthwhile stop on any trip to Chicago. The food we ate coupled with the looks of some items we didn’t have room for (plus the good nearby bar scene) give me a reason to seriously consider a second visit when we make our return to the windy city.