I like to consider myself a connoisseur of Eggs Benedict. Hollandaise sauce, ham, English muffins—I can pretty much taste the flavors in my sleep if I wanted to. However, this past Sunday during my first visit to Lincoln Park's Sprout, my knowledge of this brunch staple was put to the test by Top Chef season 3 runner-up Dale Levitski. The Short Rib Eggs Benedict ($18) was unlike anything I had ever ordered for brunch before.
In this deconstructed version, fried green tomatoes stand in for the English muffins, a red-wine reduction steers your attention away from the absence of hollandaise sauce, and the soft and tender short ribs will have you forgetting that ham even exists. Although the succinct menu lists the dish as being served with baby turnips, goat cheese, and broccoli—all of which is true—it fails to mention that this dish is Asian-inspired. Perhaps Levitski wanted his brunch diners to be surprised upon first bite? I certainly was, in the best way possible.
Imagine the best beef and broccoli dish you ever ate at a Chinese restaurant, and then picture it with yolk running all over every inch of the plate. Now you have sense of what it's like. It shouldn't make sense, but it does. The $18 price tag might feel like a lot to drop on a brunch dish, but one bite is all you will need to feel reassured.