When it comes to weekend brunch destinations, I tend to hover around my old neighborhood standbys where I know the food is worth the wait (Milk and Honey Cafe, Lula, Flo) but after this weekend I added French-inspired Mexican restaurant Mexique to the mix. I’ve driven by this place a hundred times and finally had a chance to stop in over the weekend for brunch. The whole fusion concept can be tricky and suspect, but chef-owner Carlos Gaytan keeps things balanced and delicate with fresh, seasonal items like croque monsieur, sharing menu space with corn masa boats with homemade chorizo and chilaquiles. We dug right into the flaky puff pastry of tartara de salmon haumado starter with smoked salmon, gruyère, lemon confit, large capers, chipotle aïoli and red onions, as well as the delicious Grand Marnier French Toast with caramelized apples, pumpkin sage atole and toasted pumpkin seeds sprinkled on top.To balance out with more savory, we also loved vegetarianos, two English muffin-shaped corn masa boats with fresh sautéed spinach, oven-roasted tomatoes, black beans and poached eggs covered in a sweet corn salsa I could’ve eaten on its own.
Just like you can judge a restaurant by its bread basket, I think you can also judge a brunch spot by its breakfast potatoes (please don’t call them smashers), and Mexique offers lightly fried diced potato that aren’t doused in herbs, salt, oil or are too well-done. Everything has a light and delicate touch and most dishes come with a healthy stack of watercress, haricot verts or something intriguing called “guacasalsa” on the side of the plate. There’s also a daily quiche, goat cheese and asparagus frittatas and barbacoa for breakfast! The dinner menu looks equally as delish with coffee-braised lamb shoulder and a roasted pork tenderloin with potato poblano pepper galette and ratatouille. The space is minimalist and calming with exposed brick and an autumn color palette, and I caught a very pretty “On the Table” which I’ll post later this week. For a Saturday at noon, the place was a little empty with nary a guest ousted to the corner to wait for their table with a mug of coffee, but it’s relatively new, a little hidden and I think the fusion thing can throw people. I know I’ll be back to see what Franco-Mex items Gaytan has up his sleeve for lunch and dinner.
1529 W. Chicago Ave., 312.850.0288