Chicago, Illinois – Longman & Eagle

Restaurant: Longman & Eagle
Cuisine: American/Modern American/International/Small Plates
Last visited: June 14, 2012
Location: Chicago, IL (Logan Square)
Address: 2657 N. Kedzie Ave
Transit: Logan Square
Where I stayed: Hyatt Regency Chicago (Taxi recommended)
Price Range: $30-50+ ($20-30 mains)

1Poor 2OK 3Good 4Very good 5Excellent 6FMF Must Try!

Food: 5.5
Service: 3
Ambiance: 3.5
Overall: 5
Additional comments:

  • Chef Jared Wentworth
  • 1 Michelin Star
  • Award winning
  • Modern American cuisine
  • Casual gastropub
  • Seasonal/daily menus
  • Carnivorous menu
  • Creative menu
  • Local/Sustainable ingredients
  • Local favourite
  • Moderately priced
  • Extensive Whiskey list (150+)
  • Wine/Cocktails/beer
  • Patio seating
  • No reservations accepted
  • Coffee & tea served daily at 8am
  • Brunch menu served daily 9am – 3pm
  • Limited bar snack menu available 3pm – 5pm
  • Daily dinner menu from 5pm
  • Sun. – Fri. 9am –  2am
  • Saturday dinner 9am – 3am

**Recommendations: Pastrami Spiced Pig Head, Kentucky Fried Quail, Duck Meatloaf, Seared Foie Gras, Buffalo Sweetbreads. Pineapple Croquette for dessert.

It had almost all the signs of 10 Characteristics of a Hipster Restaurant, and the first being no sign. It is one of those restaurants that is a little hard to discover on your own since it’s outside of downtown Chicago. It’s a bit of an “insiders” place that’s known amongst chefs, foodies, hipsters, scenesters and Whiskey lovers, so it has an air of “exclusiveness”, but it’s actually very casual and unpretentious once you look past all the ambiguity and uninviting exterior. It’s in a somewhat sketchy part of town that’s still in the years of becoming an up and coming Chicago neighbourhood. Wherever your comfort levels are right now, I really hope you try The Longman & Eagle because it was a definite highlight and one of my favourites in Follow Me Foodie to Chicago.

I was actually given the recommendation by @SavouryChef in Vancouver, BC and I ended up replacing it with another reso I had. She was convincing. The restaurant is busy so there will likely be a line up and they don’t take reservations. While I walked over to Lula Cafe for a small bite, they did offer an outdoor bar for people to wait. The atmosphere is very casual and the 1 Michelin Star is unassuming from a place that is essentially a low key gastropub. It was almost like The Spotted Pig in New York, and it was certainly worth the venture whether you’re a tourist or a local.

I was invested just from reading the menu online. It had one of those menus that I looked forward to trying and I couldn’t stop thinking about it even after trying it. It was so inspiring and inventive and it was exactly what I wanted out of any dining experience. Fresh ideas. Boring would be the last adjective I’d use to describe the menu.

It was catered for a carnivorous appetite with an appreciation for local and sustainable. It was the love child of “nose to tail” and “farm to table” and I found it interesting and exciting. Most of the farmers and growers are listed with the ingredients and everything was well respected, thought out and presented.

It comes down to style and tastes and the personality of Chef Jared Wentworth certainly came through. It was a fantastic collaboration of old and new American flavours and European techniques. He turned traditional classics into imaginative dishes, and he brought new meaning to “gourmet comfort food with a twist” which is more or less an exhausted cliché nowadays.

The food embraced what I imagined Chicago cuisine to be like. I wanted to see how this food Mecca could borrow flavours and styles from all across America since it’s a state that’s smack in the centre. The food ended up being a wonderful balance of East Coast meets West Coast and Northern American meets good old Southern cuisine. It probably helped that Chef Wentworth used to be a chef at Seattle’s Quinn’s Pub too, which is an eclectic gastropub just like this.

The Longman & Eagle offers a good variety of small plates and a smaller selection of entrees. The prices have quite the range, but it wasn’t overpriced and very fair for what they’re serving. The concept, execution and flavours of the food spoke higher than the prices and I was pleased that the quality of ingredients were not sacrificed. The food isn’t fussy or finely presented enough to be fine dining, but it was very smart and still professional.

People come here to eat and drink well and I think the food holds as much weight as their celebrated bar program and whiskey selection. I’m more about the food than the drink too, so that really says a lot. It’s a great spot for casual small group dining and I’m actually very jealous of Chicago for having it.

It offers an extensive whiskey list with over 150 labels. I’m not a whiskey drinker and was recently introduced to it in proper light at a whiskey dinner (see my post here), but I’m no expert. Apparently it’s a well priced whiskey list though and it can easily impress most whiskey lovers with a mix of very rare and more common whiskey labels. I assume it’s a place for a chef’s nightcap and they actually offer accommodations (6 rooms) upstairs. It’s very random, but they’re legit accommodations.

Industry tip: Apparently if you buy the staff a bottle of Bourbon, or 12 pack of beer, they’ll be really nice to you and you might get some special appetizers. There’s a “Logan Liquors” store just a few shops over so if you want to test out the theory you can. I didn’t, but I heard this from Chicago kitchen “insiders”. Try at your own pleasure… or risk. No guarantees.

On the table:

Daisy if You Do Cocktail – $8

Amuse Bouche – Polenta, Mushroom Gravy and Parmesan

**Buffalo Sweetbreads5/6 (Excellent)

  • Aerated Ranch, Hot Sauce, Thumbelina Carrots, Micro Celery $9
  • This was brilliant! It was like popcorn chicken meets buffalo wings.
  • I really like sweetbreads, but even if you don’t, you would think this was just popcorn chicken.
  • He brought the typical buffalo wings and blue cheese dip served with celery sticks to a whole new level.
  • Sweetbreads are naturally pillowy and creamy so the crunchy thicker batter was a nice contrast, but it was almost covering the sweetbread too much.
  • The cayenne pepper seasoned batter was flavourful even without the sauce and they had excellent crunch and bite.
  • The hot sauce tasted like a house made Frank’s Red Hot Sauce meets Sriracha sauce and it was sweet, tangy and spicy and not just hot.
  • The aerated ranch dip was more like a mousse and it actually had purpose without being just a random foam.
  • I preferred this instead of a traditional thick and creamy Ranch dip especially in this context.
  • Sweetbreads are much lighter than chicken wings and even chicken nuggets so the light and airy quality of the dip was complementing.
  • The ranch dip was just to neutralize the spicy kick of the buffalo sweetbreads and although I missed the blue cheese flavour, it was still excellent.
  • The Thumbelina Carrots were well sourced and flavourful and more exciting than celery.
  • It was familiar enough to be approachable and creative enough to be memorable.
  • Another creative interpretation for the Buffalo Wing is this Buffalo Wing Cupcake.

**Pastrami Spiced Pig Head6/6 (FMF Must Try!)

  • Sauerkraut Gnocchi, Dehydrated Rye, Shave Apple & Watercress Salad, Thousand Island Sugo $12
  • “Pig Head” on the menu is a dead give-away of an offal loving “nose to tail” chef.
  • This is a house favourite and I already knew I wanted it before I came in.
  • He made the pig head approachable and I actually liked it more in this nicely portioned small plate as opposed to just a giant hog’s head.
  • Being Asian I’m used to seeing the head and full suckling pig, but I prefer the more elegant forms of presentation.
  • This was comfort food 2012.

  • It was a very rich dish so the smaller piece was enough, and with the gnocchi it was very reasonably priced.
  • The pig’s head was executed almost like a Zampone (a stuffed Italian pig’s trotter) and it was a rather refined approach.
  • A pig’s head has a lot of fatty and gelatinous components, but he used a good ratio of fat and meat in this which is what I prefer.
  • Fat is flavour, but I also don’t like an overwhelming amount of gelatinous textures.
  • The meat wasn’t all chopped up so it wasn’t like a sausage, which is what I was expecting, but instead it was almost like pork butt or pork shoulder in the centre.
  • It tasted like chunks of pork shoulder/butt wrapped with a thick and purely gelatinous pork rind.
  • It was probably brined, definitely braised and perhaps roasted or pan fried before serving.
  • The whole piece of meat was melt in your mouth tender and almost identical to pork belly.
  • There was a slight crispiness on the exterior from I think dehydrated rye bread crumbs which gave it a nutty earthy quality.
  • None of the fat was chewy, but just melt in your mouth creamy and buttery which is the only way I enjoy fat (I hate when it’s chewy).
  • The pork had good meaty flavour and it was well seasoned with coriander, mustard seeds and peppercorns, but you couldn’t see the spices and they were infused into the meat.
  • It was topped with a simple shaved apple and watercress salad which I wish was more pickled to contrast the richness of the dish.
  • The tart crunch of Granny Smith apples were great with the pork and that combination never seems to fail.
  • The Sauerkraut Gnocchi was very creative although I wouldn’t have guessed it was sauerkraut.
  • It was very creamy and soft gnocchi and I could taste the potato flavour and texture more so than the cabbage.
  • The cabbage was pureed with the potatoes until completely smooth.
  • I actually couldn’t taste the cabbage although they were slightly tangy.
  • I missed their traditional fork ridges and I expected them to be a lot lighter with the sauerkraut, but there was more potato than cabbage.
  • I would have loved them pan fried, but the sprinkle of dehydrated rye bread crumbs gave them a slight crispy texture.
  • It had the flavours of sauerkraut perogies in gnocchi form.
  • The Thousand Island Sugo was another inventive twist and it was more for the gnocchi than it was for the pig’s head.
  • I could have used some grainy mustard for the pig’s head though so I wouldn’t have minded this sauce as some mustard based sauce.
  • The Thousand Island Sugo was a lemony cream sauce and it came across as a garlic aioli with a bit of tomato paste and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
  • The dish had so many unique components, but it all came together so well without being confusing.

**Kentucky Fried Quail - 5/6 (Excellent)

  • Foie Gras Enriched Corn Bread, Country Gravy, Red Beans and Hamhock $17
  • And you thought you tried all the versions of country fried chicken, cornbread and gravy? Guess again!
  • It was dated stacking presentation, but everything worked as a unit although each component was also good alone.
  • It was a great interpretation of classic Southern comfort food.
  • The Kentucky Fried Quail really had a similar batter to Kentucky Fried Chicken and it was golden brown, well seasoned and crispy.
  • Quail meat is lean, but this came across as deep fried duck and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was sous vide because it was incredibly tender, moist and juicy.
  • Part of me thought it was a bit of a waste to deep fry a beautiful quail, but at least it was something I’ve never seen or tried.
  • The Foie Gras Enriched Corn Bread was like a tender soft cake and it had a nice and crispy exterior which I love, but I couldn’t taste the foie gras.
  • The corn bread was perhaps pan fried in duck fat (confit) before being served, but I couldn’t taste that duck flavour or umami of foie.
  • It was still a very rich and moist corn bread with a nice sweetness though.
  • The Red Beans and Hamhock were underneath the cornbread so the cornbread never got soggy.
  • The beans could have been a bit firmer and the hamhock was shredded and well cured.
  • It was a very simple and straight forward combination of the ingredients and although good, it wasn’t the highlight.
  • The Canadian in me wanted some maple syrup in the beans and hamhock component.
  • The Country Gravy was basically a creamy and buttery rich bechamel sauce with I think bits of bacon and sausage and it just showed that nothing went to waste here.
  • The dish showcased at least 4 varieties of meat and although there was a lot going on, nothing was overpowered except for the foie gras aspect.

Deconstructed Rabbit Pot Pie4.5/6 (Very good-Excellent)

  • Bacon Wrapped Loin, Grain Mustard Fricassee, Vegetables That Rabbits Like to Eat $15
  • I’m a fan of rabbit and this was a very rustic yet sophisticated pot pie.
  • Chef loves the stacking presentation, but his plates work well with everything mixed together and I don’t mind.
  • It was a very chunky pot pie and it was really more about the stuffing than the pastry.
  • It was more hearty with ingredients than hearty with sauces and pastry so it was different than most pot pies.
  • The pastry was a basic puff pastry and it was crisp, flaky and airy light, but I wouldn’t have minded a bit more to finish off everything else with.
  • The rabbit seemed sous vide and the pieces were incredibly tender and juicy like dark meat chicken.
  • Bacon and rabbit go hand in hand and the bacon wrapped around the loin added great flavour.
  • The bacon was good quality bacon too and it was caramelized and well roasted until extremely crispy which I loved!
  • There were chunks of veggies like carrots, onions, celery, some mushrooms and I think turnips that were roasted and sautéed.
  • The dish had a sweet and tangy savoury mushroom and red wine demi glace like sauce and then a whole grain mustard seed white wine Fricassee sauce.
  • A white wine mustard cream sauce is classic with rabbit, but I liked having both the red wine and white wine sauce on the plate.
  • The white gravy had the aromatics of carrots, celery and onions and I think chicken jus so it had good savoury flavour and a nice mustardy spice.
  • Everything was just deliciously savoury and it was almost like eating roast beef with the richer red wine sauce and then mustard along side.

**Duck Meatloaf5/6 (Excellent)

  • Vanilla Sweet Potato Puree, Braised Spigarello, Sunnyside Quail Egg, Confit Pearl Onions, Molasses Vinaigrette $15
  • Another creative twist to an old fashioned classic!
  • It wasn’t just about making it “gourmet”, but it was actually reinventing it with new flavours and ingredients.
  • The meatloaf was pan fried on both sides and it had a nice crispy sweet caramelized brûlée like crust.
  • It looked like a terrine so I was expecting shredded bits of duck confit, but it was more like a bacon and duck sausage patty.
  • I think I just prefer a looser, softer meatball type of meatloaf that’s less refined with more shredded duck.
  • It was still an excellent meatloaf, but it was more appreciated with everything else on the plate.
  • Instead of the typical mashed potatoes it was a very inventive vanilla sweet potato puree and it tasted like sweet mashed yams with a very subtle vanilla fragrance.
  • It had minimal vanilla bean seeds in the puree and I wish there was more because I couldn’t taste it unless I ate it alone.
  • I was hoping for some toasted pecans on the dish just to complement and add texture to the sweet yam puree aspect.
  • The braised Spigarello reminded me of kale, but it’s supposed to taste like broccoli. However it was overcooked and it ended up being quite bitter.
  • I did like the fact that the Spigarello was briased though.
  • It was braised in a syrupy sauce likely made from duck and bacon drippings and it was slightly spicy too.
  • The confit pearl onions and syrupy sweet and tangy molasses vinaigrette was the acidity to the dish and the sauce was inventive as opposed to a simple gravy or jus.
  • The fried quail’s egg was actually a duck (?) egg which is better because a quail’s egg would be too small and only enjoyed in one bite.
  • The fried egg was a bit random, but I like a fried egg on almost anything so I didn’t care. It also works with bacon and the bacon was in the meatloaf.
  • There was a savoury, sweet, tangy and spicy component to the dish and overall it was excellent.
  • It was either dinner for breakfast or breakfast for dinner and I’d enjoy it at either or.

**Seared Foie Gras6/6 (FMF Must Try!)

  • White Balsamic, Farm Strawberries, Honey Foam Black Pepper & Pineapple Upside Down Cake $20
  • Seriously! Who thinks of this stuff? Such a brilliant chef!
  • This was probably my favourite dish here and possibly one of the best ways I’ve enjoyed foie gras to date.
  • Nothing beats a simple pan seared foie gras. It’s one of those effortlessly beautiful ingredients that are exquisite as is.
  • It was a big piece of foie for the price and it was seared perfectly with a good sprinkle of maldon salt on top.
  • The pineapple upside down cake was a nice change from the usual crostinis or brioche.
  • The pineapple cake was buttery, light, sweet and tangy and it was toasted until crispy, but it wasn’t crunchy.
  • Foie gras goes extremely well with fruit and the classic match for it are strawberries, so it was nice to have that as well as pineapples.
  • The strawberries were tart and I wish they were sweet, but I liked the natural way they were showcased since there was already so much going on.
  • There was also caramelized rhubarb and rhubarb puree so there were many fruit condiments to enjoy with the foie gras.
  • The Honey Foam Black Pepper were basically spiced honey combs and they added crunchy texture to the plate which I loved.
  • There was also some slivered basil and that together with strawberries and balsamic vinegar are quite classic and served as dessert in Italy sometimes.
  • It was sweet, savoury, tangy, and aromatic with herbs and black pepper and I would happy to have it as an appy or for dessert.
  • Seared Foie Gras with Apple Tart Tatin and Black Skillet Roasted Foie Gras with blueberry beignets are other ways I have really enjoyed a simple pan seared foie gras.
Photo from GraceNotesNYC.com
Wild Boar Sloppy Joe with Beef Fat Fries - n/a
  • Wild Boar Sloppy Joe, Crispy Sage, Onion, Pickled Jalapeño, Brioche $13
  • I got offered to try this from a neighbour table… and I accepted. Good times.
  • Duck fat fries are everywhere now, but how about beef fat fries? Cheaper than duck fat, but did it taste better?
  • This is actually an old fashioned method and how McDonald’s used to cook their fries until they were forced to stop because it was unhealthy.
  • Although I couldn’t taste the beef or beef fat in the fries, each one was very crispy and they were good and well seasoned fries.
  • They gave me a bite of the burger too which was solid, but it’s not enough to give a fair judgment.
  • I would enjoy this plate for lunch, but for dinner I recommend trying the other items that are even more creative.
  • This is actually a dish from Quinn’s Pub in Seattle where Chef used to work before coming to Longman & Eagle.
  • At Quinn’s Pub it’s offered with an optional fried duck egg… and I thought it couldn’t get any better.

Warm Gruyere Donuts4/6 (Very good)

  • Fig Jam, Hazelnut Mascarpone, Wild Flower Honey $9
  • This was dessert, but it could have been another savoury dish.
  • I treated it as a savoury dish and it was more of a cheese course than a dessert.
  • The presentation wasn’t the nicest and the brown smear (fig spread) never sits well with me, but the concept was good.
  • Donuts are overdone, but this was a sophisticated interpretation for them featuring artisan ingredients.
  • I was happy to not see bacon just because the bacon donut thing would be considered unimaginative here.
  • I could have used some nuts on the plate and the only thing really making it a dessert were the condiments which I found really sweet.

  • The crispy donuts were very rich and generously filled with Gruyère cheese and I would consider them completely savoury.
  • The wild flower honey was good quality honey, and the fig jam was very chunky with dried figs and a bit boozy and too sweet for me. It also wasn’t “smearing” material.
  • The hazelnut mascarpone whipped mousse was creamy and lightly sweetened and it was actually very strong with mascarpone flavour which I loved.
  • The hazelnut was faint, but I could still taste it, but I wish there were actual hazelnuts on the plate too.
  • I wasn’t too keen on the fig jam or the wild flower honey jelly which seemed more like a jello and hard to eat with the donuts without cutting up.
  • The sauces weren’t exactly made for dipping besides the liquid honey and mascarpone, and those were the only ones I enjoyed with the donuts.
  • I think I just would have liked more of an assembled dessert rather than a “do it yourself” sort of thing with a bunch of sauces.
Pineapple Croquetten/a
  • Coconut Custard, Confit Pistachio Puree, Vanilla Granita, Pineapple Anglaise with Pineapple herb $9
  • This was another dessert my friendly neighbour let me try and it was amazing! I wished I ordered this instead.
The pastry chef is Jeremy Brutzkus and I would have loved to try more of his desserts because they sounded just as creative as the savoury dishes, but I was heading to Mindy’s HotChocolate for dessert after this.

[geotag]

Longman & Eagle on Urbanspoon

9 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>