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Chicago Restaurants' Southern Influence

The Southern's take on Poutine, in Chicago.

Photo: Cedric Angeles

Ukrainian Village: Jam

What do you do on a Sunday when you’re hungry but desperate to avoid typically treacly brunch food? Get in line at Jam, where dishes tilt the scale toward the savory side. Chef Jeffrey Mauro blankets braised lamb neck with Asian pears and hazelnut glaze with nutty buckwheat crêpes. His French toast (custard-soaked brioche from the third-generation family-owned Gonnella Bakery) is vacuum sealed and cooked sous vide before it even hits the griddle to be seared; it’s then garnished with macerated pineapple and cranberry, citrus cream, and pink peppercorns. Even eggs Benedict lands someplace unexpected: neat stacks of crisped, cured pork belly and English muffins are the foundation for silky poached eggs and a sweep of butternut-squash hollandaise with pumpkin seeds. The small, silvery dining room is brightened by pops of chartreuse and polished-concrete tabletops, with a busy open kitchen from which Mauro rarely looks up. Once your food arrives, neither will you. 937 N. Damen Ave.; 773/489-0302; brunch for two $30.


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