Saturday and Sunday; reservations accepted for parties of 6 or more
Cost: $8-$15 a la carte entrees
Jane's was uncrowded and low-key, with no wait and very efficient service, and the food was quite good. We were seated immediately at a clean, already-set table, and were offered coffee and a bread basket promptly. The menu was small but featured a nice mix of breakfast and lunch-type entrees, and salads and soups. We started with scones, choosing raspberry; they came piping-hot and with house-made whipped cream. A breakfast burrito was packed full of fluffy eggs, shiitake mushrooms, a zingy chipotle pesto, cilantro and jack cheese, grilled like a chimichanga and then topped with pico de gallo and served on avocado mousse. It was very fresh and tasty, but may have sat on the grill a moment too long -- the bottom of the burrito was just this side of charred. Banana nut French toast looked blah, but was rich, moist and tasty. Both entrees came with something called "smashed potatoes" -- a bit of an odd pairing with French toast. They were tasty, but nearly room temperature. The main room of Jane's looks like a house that has been stripped; bare beams on the ceiling, exposed brick on the walls. Everything is very woody and homey; almost unintentionally rustic. It's a very charming, comfortable place. Service is friendly and casual, in keeping with the general atmosphere, and very good. Coffee -- that key element of brunch -- was refilled quickly and often. However, my empty teapot was ignored, and at one point we had a jumble of assorted dirty silverware on the table; they giveth freely, but did not often taketh away. --Cheryl Bowles
Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab
Saturday and Sunday; reservations accepted
Cost: $10.95-$19.95 a la carte entrees
It's tough to compete with stone crabs and filet mignon. This is the quandary when having brunch at Joe's Seafood, Stone Crab & Prime Steak in River North. Despite being big fans of brunch, we were way more excited about Joe's lunch menu than the restaurant's eight brunch offerings (no daily specials), which included the usual suspects -- a Belgian waffle, a chorizo scramble, an egg-white omelet, steak and eggs. A small selection of breakfast meats (chicken sausage, bacon, smoked pork chop) came a la carte, as did the potatoes. We sampled two of the more interesting-sounding entrees: the jumbo lump crab cake Benedict with Choron sauce and the short rib hash and eggs, as well as a side of thick-cut maple-glazed bacon. The verdict? The food was decent -- the hash, generously studded with tender chunks of braised short rib, great even -- but nothing rocked our world. The ambience, though a bit more formal than we were used to, was pleasant, and the service was impeccable. Great jazz music played in the background. But for us, it all comes down to the food. And if you have steak and stone crabs on the menu, why bother with brunch? -- Tran Ha
Sunday; reservations for 6 or more
Cost: $6-$12 a la carte entrees
Walking into Kuma's Corner, customers are greeted by a friendly tattooed waitress and not-too-loud hard rock music. This is a bar and we were offered a beer list. Giant orange juices come in specialty beer glasses. The menu is basic with meat and veggie omelets, eggs Benedict, French toast and pancakes. Eggs Benedict was tasty and not oversalted, which was refreshing. Kuma's serves chilaquiles, which is the most exotic thing on the menu. Everything was hot, good and homey -- kind of like a fry cook had suddenly appeared in your mom's kitchen. The waitress bantered with customers, who ranged from young couples to a father with two kids to a couple of twentysomethings with their Baby Boomer parents. We'll go back to sit outside when the weather warms up. -- Catherine Nichols
Saturday and Sunday; no reservations
Cost: $6-$14 a la carte entrees
La Tache, which means "the spot" in French, is a cozy little Andersonville restaurant that serves up a menu of mouthwatering French-inflected choices, from omelets stuffed with sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, caramelized onion and Gruyere cheese to a cheese puff filled with leek and spinach scrambled eggs, asparagus puree, truffle oil and pistachios. This dining spot is stylish, with the vibe of a Left Bank club. Standouts included the savory croque madame, a ham and cheese sandwich topped with two runny eggs and the chicken salad croissant, which, importantly, included an excellent, flaky, buttery croissant. We also loved the applewood smoked bacon, which was caramelized to black at the edges and had an amazing sweet and grilled taste. The omelets were good, but the cooked eggs were a bit gray, a bit of a head-scratcher (perhaps picking up grease from the grill?) and a little unappetizing. One big disappointment? The bland, dry French toast, served with Vermont maple syrup and berries. Even the berries couldn't perk up this sleeper. -- Trine Tsouderos
Saturday and Sunday; no reservations
Cost: $8-$12 a la carte entrees
Expect to wait a long, long time for a seat. Two of us would have had to wait 30-45 minutes if we had not opted to sit at the bar. (They have more room in the spring and summer with alfresco seating, but not much.) And they don't take reservations. They've got great fresh food, though. The brunch menu changes from week to week; some of the selections you might find include biscuits and gravy with roast pork, collard greens, sunny side up eggs, and pickled ramps, roasted red peppers, field greens and fresh fruit. We enjoyed the veggie eggs Benedict with artichokes and pine nuts. The tofu scramble, with a ginger miso sauce, was served with delicious fresh fruit. The apple cider is to die for with a perfect blend of spices that don't overwhelm the apple flavor. You can tell the waiter to add rum to that cider if you need a bit of the hair of the dog that bit you. -- Melissa Clay
The ultimate brunch guide
The lowdown on brunches around the city, from big hotel buffets to tiny cafes
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