Easter brunch is a time-honored tradition, conjuring thoughts of spiral ham, tempting chocolate bunny ears and grandma throwing back a few Bloody Marys. Whether your preference is for the traditional, the gourmet, the vegetarian or the wacky, Easter brunches around the city offer a range of options for your April 4 celebration. ‚ (A big thank you to Katherine, my intern, for helping assemble this list).
LM Le Restaurant This modern, comfortable Lincoln Square restaurant will serve up a contemporary French Easter brunch from 9 am to 3 pm. Cold buffet options include croissants, artisan breads, pain au chocolat, salads, assorted sushi rolls, smoked salmon and sturgeon, artisan cheeses, homemade country terrine, and a charcuterie selection. À la carte entrées will feature a choice of LM quiche with caramelized shallots, gruyère and spinach; brioche french toast with roasted pears; herbed risotto with pine nuts, zucchini and goat cheese; pan roasted arctic char with artichokes, heart of palm and sauce vierge; and a croque monsieur with béchamel and frites. Desserts include chocolate mousse and French pastries. The cost is $39 for adults and $12 for children 12 and under. There is no cost for children under 2 years old. LM Le Restaurant is located at 4539 N. Lincoln Avenue. Call (773) 942-7585 for reservations.
David Burke's Primehouse
Chef Rick Gresh will continue his Brunch-in-a-Box series with this Easter Box, available on April 4 from 11 am to 3 pm. The box is filled with braided sweet bread, a colored quail egg, roast lamb loin with spiced fruits, a potato nest with diced ham and poached egg, roasted spring asparagus with lemon and Parmesan cheese. The regular Brunch-in-a-Box menu as well as other breakfast classics, Bloody Mary carafes and sparkling cocktails will be available. The cost is $22 per person. David Burke's Primehouse is located in the James Hotel at 616 N. Rush Street. Call (312) 660-6000 for reservations.
This contemporary vegetarian restaurant, headed by 2006 James Beard Award winner Shawn McClain, offers their traditional Sunday brunch this Easter. The‚ à la carte‚ menu includes a poached egg and mustard greens salad, welsh rarebit with brioche and a poached egg, Anson Mills grits with a poached egg and smoked mushrooms, french toast with roasted pears, and buttermilk biscuits with mushroom gravy and sunny-side-up egg. Beer and wine by the glass are available, as well as Green Zebra's Good Morning cocktails like a Lanai Sparkler with hibiscus or the Green Zebra Bloody Mary. Menu items range from $7 to $12. Green Zebra is located at 1460 W. Chicago Avenue. Call (312) 243-7100 for reservations.
This elegant Evanston Italian favorite will serve Easter Brunch from 10:30 am until 2:00 pm. The three-course prix fixe menu begins with starters such as a baby arugula salad with walnut-kalamata dressing; house made chicken liver pâté; exotic mushroom and pancetta risotto chive mascarpone; and lobster bisque with brandy. The main course features choices such as eggs benedict over focaccia crostini with mascarpone hollandaise; grilled lamb loin with rosemary polenta and swiss chard; asparagus, tarragon and fontina frittata with sundried tomato fondue; and pan-roasted Alaskan salmon with mascarpone-infused polenta and cherry tomato "relish". Desserts include bittersweet chocolate budino; vanilla-lemon infused panna cotta; vanilla-mascarpone cheesecake; and bittersweet chocolate crepes with brown sugar caramel sauce. The three-course menu is $38 per person. Va Pensiero is located at 1566 Oak Avenue in Evanston. Call (847) 475-7779 for reservations.
NoMI's Easter buffet will be offered from 11:15 am to 3:00 pm, with to-die-for views of the Magnificent Mile sure to impress visiting relatives. The brunch will be served as a buffet with a choice of entrée. Buffet options include Jonah crab claws, oysters on the half shell, beef tataki salad with ponzu, seafood omelet skewers, assorted breads and muffins, homemade bread pudding, artisan breads, salad niςoise, spring asparagus salad with truffle vinaigrette, duck confit with wild rice salad, artisan cheeses and charcuterie, country-style pork terrine, house cured salmon, spring carrot soup, miniature belgian waffles, buttermilk pancakes, pastry selections and a carving station featuring slow-roasted leg of Colorado spring lamb. À la carte entrée choices include eggs benedict with sautéed spinach and lobster medallions; specialty omelets; spring pea and morel risotto; Freebird farms chicken; Atlantic halibut; and flat iron steak with bordelaise sauce. The cost is $105 for adults and $30 for children ages 6 to 12. Credit card reservations are required and can be made by calling (312) 239-4030. Cancellations must be made within 72 hours notice, otherwise a $50 cancellation fee per person will be charged. NoMI is located at the Park Hyatt Chicago, 800 N. Michigan Avenue.
The dining room at NoMI
Chef Michael McDonald presents a three-course Easter brunch from 11 am until 2:30 pm. The prix-fixe menu includes tropical fruit salad with "angel food croutons", grilled shrimp with curried cucumber yogurt sauce, slow-cooked pork belly with buttermilk biscuits, egg white omelet with asparagus and chantarelle mushrooms, flat iron steak with braised radishes and fiddlehead ferns, iberico ham with eggs benedict, ricotta and English pea ravioli, peanut butter panna cotta, coconut pineapple upside-down cake and sorbets. The cost is $39 for adults; a $12 children's waffle bar is also available. one sixtyblue is located at 1400 W. Randolph Street. Call (312) 850-0303 for reservations.
10pin Bowling Lounge
Really more of a lounge than a bowling alley, 10pin never lets food take a backseat to the bowling. This Easter, the lounge will offer seatings at 11:00 am and 2:00 pm, featuring a brunch buffet, two hours of bowling and visits from the Easter bunny. The buffet brunch items such as muffins, bagels, eggs benedict, Baileys Irish Creme-stuffed french toast, applewood smoked bacon, penne vodka pasta, chicken vesuvio, capresse salad, honey baked ham and prime rib carving stations, cookies, pastries and cakes. Children's foods are also available. Adult cocktails are $9.50 and include the Chocolate Bunny (vodka, creme de banana, godiva white chocolate liqueur, frangelico and cream), the Easter Egg (vodka, creme de cacao, blue curaƒ§ao, and cream), the Pink Peep (vanilla vodka, strawberry creme liqueur, grenadine, cream and garnished with a pink Peep), among others. If children knock down a special pink pin while bowling, they will win an Easter egg filled with treats and will be entered to win the grand prize, an Easter basket filled with toys and candy. The cost is $39 and includes the buffet, two hours of bowling and shoe rental. Children under age 4 are free. 10pin is located at 330 N. State Street. Call (312) 664-0300 for reservations.