Le Sud, the charming French-Mediterranean restaurant in Roscoe Village, recently added a Sunday brunch. They invited The Local Tourist to visit for a taste of the new brunch menu.
In less than a year, Le Sud has developed a reputation as one of the best and most approachable French restaurants in Chicago. If you chat with any of the other patrons, you will discover that it has become a firm neighborhood favorite for people who live in the Roscoe Village area. I had the pleasure of visiting the restaurant shortly after it opened. You can find my thoughts on that in my article titled “Le Sud brings a touch of Provence to Roscoe Village.”
One of the restaurant’s first new initiatives was the creation of the happy hour menu which I also had the pleasure of sampling. I wrote about that in an article titled “Le Sud launches a new happy hour.”
Now, the latest addition is the new brunch menu available Sundays between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. I was invited to bring a guest recently to sample items from this menu.
The brunch menu is small, but the selections are varied enough that anyone should be able to find something to excite them. One of the signature items on both the brunch and dinner menu is their toast. I know it may sound mundane, but do yourself a favor and order it, with both butter and marmalade. My favorite is the grilled sourdough. Clearly, bread is one of the chef’s areas of expertise.
The brunch options are primarily standard French brunch offerings but all crafted beautifully by the talented kitchen staff. On our visit, my friend and I sampled two entrées and several desserts:
- Eggs Sardou (creamed spinach, artichokes barigoule, sauce hollandaise, brioche toast) Soft-poached eggs rest atop the flavorful artichokes, covered with a superb traditional hollandaise sauce. If you are not familiar with the term “barigoule,” it refers to a traditional Provençal dish of artichokes braised with onions, garlic and carrots in a seasoned broth of wine and water. This is a lovely alternative to eggs Benedict because it omits the bread and replaces it with the gorgeous preserved artichokes.
- Quiche Lorraine (alpine cheeses, leeks, fines herbes, petite salade) This is one of the most traditional of all French quiche preparations. In the case of the one from Le Sud, the quiche is thick and fluffy, quite the largest slice of quiche I have ever seen on a brunch menu. With the small salad, this is plenty of meal for even a hearty appetite.
For dessert, we sampled three of the intriguing offerings:
- Basque cake (date, honey, almond, orange, crème Chantilly) Another traditional Provençal dish, this a dense cake, but surprisingly not too sweet. I tend to prefer lightly savory desserts, and this one had just the right balance of fruit without becoming too sweet.
- Brown butter ice cream – Who could resist something with that name? Like the Basque cake, this surprised me with subtle flavors. The brown butter comes across, but not overwhelmingly.
- Buttermilk ice cream – Both my friend and I voted this as our favorite of the three desserts. It’s a simple preparation, but sometimes ‘less is more’ and in this case you won’t be disappointed by that truism.
No brunch menu is complete without the option of mimosas, and Le Sud offers an excellent one – either by the glass, bottomless, or table service. One of the hallmarks of a great mimosa for me is when the sparkling wine is the dominant flavor and the juice takes a secondary role. Le Sud does a lovely job of creating a mimosa that does just that. Of course, the inclusion of great sparkling wine helps, and Le Sud has a superior wine list
Speaking of wine, be sure to check the Le Sud website and sign up for their email list. New wine director Sean Varner has begun to work closely with the wine list, adding new and exciting varietals. In addition, he will be rolling out monthly wine tasting events. Here’s a tentative list of proposed upcoming themes, so be sure to contact them directly for more updated information:
December 2019 – Gérard Bonvoisin Wines
January 2020 – Appellation D’Origine Contrôlée
February 2020 – Tannins
March 2020 – Women Winemakers
April 2020 – Organic/Biodynamic Wines
Le Sud (2301 West Roscoe Street) is now open for dinner service Monday-Thursday, 5-10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 5-11 p.m.; Sunday 4-9 p.m. and for brunch Sunday 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Ample street parking is available, much of it free (a huge bonus in Chicago). For more information or reservations, visit the Le Sud website or call (773) 857-1985.