I’d been to dinner at Autre Monde during the summer and liked it quite a bit: the food was inventive and fun, and we found the patio very pleasant, though I’d heard from several Oak Parkers that the dining room was kind of noisy. Though I find it harder, as I age, to hear table mates talking, I didn’t find it at all hard to hear during brunch at Autre Monde last Saturday. Co-owner Christine Tully explained that they’ve installed some noise-absorbing artwork and other features to dim the din, and they have more audio enhancements planned over the next few months.

I frequently find that going out for brunch or lunch on weekends is not worth the bother (I can make eggs at home in one-twentieth of the time I’d probably spend waiting in line). Autre Monde makes early dining well worth the effort by offering a few items I’d never make at home…like a smoked mackerel pate that we really liked a lot and beef Carpaccio with arugula, which requires beef with just the right amount of fat, cut super thin (with the slightly peppery leaf, it’s a classic combo).

The Torta Navarro is what in Spain might be called a “tortilla”: not the cornmeal or flour disk we see in Mexico or the States, but basically what might be considered a frittata, or omelet, with potatoes and tiny piquillo peppers that add just a hint of fruitiness and heat and color. 

I’m a major fan of shrimp and grits, and if I had one criticism of the brunch items we had, it’d be that the huge prawns, served in their shell, and tasty, were a little messy to clean up and eat and might have benefited from deveining.

Abby, my daughter, whose middle name is Persephone, had to order a Persephone, which is a beautiful drink of clementine and pomegranate juice, with tequila, lime and Jo Snow Cardamom Rose Syrup. This beverage, semi-sweet with palate-tingling tartness, seems just right for in-between breakfast and lunch.

As a vegetarian bordering on vegan, Abby very much enjoyed the Neevick, a salad of spinach and chick peas, which was a good balance to brunch richness

Chef Dan Pancake is looking ahead to next spring, when his greenhouse will be turning out some unusual produce – like Rat Tail Radishes – and it’s encouraging that everyone at Autre Monde seems to be ready to change things up seasonally to offer new tastes.

When you go to this still new spot on Roosevelt, you really must stop by Horrorbles, owned and run by Autre Monde partners Christine Tully and John Aranza. Horrorbles is itself a local treasure for those of us who still get goosebumps when holding an old copy of Famous Monsters of Filmland, visiting Horrorbles makes for an a fun après- early dining strolls.

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David Hammond

David Hammond, a corporate communications consultant and food journalist living in Oak Park, Illinois, is a founder and moderator of LTHForum.com, the 8,500 member Chicago-based culinary chat site. David...