By Constance Hernandez
There isn’t generally a whole lot to get pumped about come cold, holiday-devoid January, which makes an invitation to dinner at an exciting upscale Breakfast and Lunch concept such a welcome change of pace.
In this great dining city of ours, barely a day passes without news of “an exciting restaurant opening,” a “devastating closing,” or a “groundbreaking, must-try dish.” That’s why I feel obligated to keep you apprised of the industry’s most noteworthy bits and bites — today from Yolk’s new home on Westchester in Preston Center.
In the words of Creed, “I just heard the news today…seems my life is gonna change…” thanks, in part, to this Chicago-based hip eatery. Set adjacent to the hustle and bustle of North Park’s rows of corporate concepts, Yolk serves up an experience for more than just the palate. The owner, Taki Kastanis, has been “handling our huevos since 2006,” and has developed a menu that breaks out of the shell of usual brunch or even “brinner”. That approach cracks the mystery of why eggs are so trendy right now, and satisfies any craving for any appetite at any time of the day.
When I entered the front doors, I was greeted by Taki with a hearty “Come on in! We’re so glad you’re here!” After shaking hands with him, and our personal introductions, his warm Greek demeanor mixed with an aroma of griddled dishes in the works for this ‘soft open.’ I must admit, my gluttony overshadowed my usual sarcastic reserve; it was Souvlaki for the Soul!
My date and I sat down at a table they had set up for the event. We were greeted with a signature beverage for the evening, an after-thought to the essence wafting from their kitchen line, and then the magic began. A symphony of cultivated service staff rolled out uncommonly common breakfast standards, such as eggs benedict, but then kicked it up another notch. The hollandaise sauce that blanketed my poached egg and Canadian bacon could have been served on a flip-flop, and I would have still eaten it. The entire 7-course menu was served family style, and I was immersed in culinary dignitaries, and even a Channel 8 news anchor. The diced red potatoes that accompanied the dish could have used a little more seasoning, but visually, they complemented the silky egg already making its way into my stomach. Within minutes, the unison of servers returned with course after course of ambrosial delights: Chilaquiles with Chorizo, Chicken and Waffles, a Citrus Blast Salad, the Yolk Patty Melt, and their spin on Greek yogurt with granola and fresh berries. But the big Pièce de Résistance was the Red Velvet French Toast. Cream cheese icing dances it’s way throughout the decadent fare, and later it made an appearance in my dreams that night.
Red Velvet French Toast
The menu at Yolk reads more like a diner line up. If your taste buds steer you away from the breakfast tier, nom your way thru their solid salads, sandwiches, or burgers and fries. The core of Yolk is splashed with a modern appetizing blue, and while it plays the little sibling to the Fort Worth location in Sundance Square, don’t let this sibling rivalry admonish your choice in locations.
Post-holiday season can be awfully dreary — sans pine tree-scented air and cheerful carols, all that’s really left is a series of short, dark days and semi-frigid Texas nights. That’s why we rely on restaurants to see us through the hump; because in the hands of Taki Kastanis, even a simple egg seems positively festive.