Brunch Bites: Bar Siena and Haywood Tavern
Bar Siena just keeps getting bigger and better. Even though the massive Italian spot from DineAmic Group and celeb chef Fabio Viviani is still in its infancy, it keeps adding to its portfolio with recent additions of lunch and takeout sweets from its sidewalk window. Now the latest to join the roster is weekend brunch, on deck every Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Italian-tinged dishes on this crowd-pleaser of a brunch menu include avocado toast, baked French toast, a "puff" pancake with lemon whipped ricotta, short rib hash, a Bombo Benedict, and quite possibly the greatest dish of all: the Bombo breakfast sandwich with pancetta cured bacon, pork patty, eggs, and American cheese sandwiched between two bombolini doughnuts as buns. The Bloody Mary is an apt beverage as well, made with candied bacon, Diavolo sea salt, and seasonal pickles. Fresh juices for the N/A crowd include organic pressed potables like beet, watermelon, kale, and carrot.
On another side of town, in a burgeoning food district in Humboldt Park, Haywood Tavern has joined the brunch scene at the red-hot corner of California and Augusta. In a refreshing change of pace, the brunch program at this spot pays homage to more classic, wholesome American brunch fare, including a dish simply called "breakfast" that consists of two eggs, bacon, sausage, red potatoes, and grilled toast. Sure there are some more inventive options like a cured salmon tartine and baked eggs immersed in spicy tomato sauce, but on the whole, Haywood does a dutiful job elevating the American diner template. Other dishes include smoked pork hash, a sausage-egg-cheese breakfast sandwich, a croque monsieur or madame, and a double cheeseburger with fries. There's also a bevy of brunch cocktails on hand, along with a particularly solid Bloody Mary.
- Matt Kirouac