Neighborhood Restaurant Review: The Bentley Tavern in Lincoln Park

After a great brunch at The Public House, our Neighborhood Restaurant Reviewers decided to continue their exploration of Chicago’s culinary scene when it comes to one of the most important meals of the week: brunch.
Weekend brunch is a sacred weekend ritual for Chicagoans and there’s no shortage of great restaurants and bars to check out. This past weekend we ventured to the quiet corridor of Southport, just north of Diversey, in Lincoln Park to check out weekend brunch at The Bentley Tavern.
Both charming and sophisticated, The Bentley Tavern is Lakeview’s premier chef-driven dining destination. Chef Ian Flowers focuses on progressive American bistro fare, with creative classics artfully presented and comprised of seasonal ingredients from local farmers.
The atmosphere at The Bentley Tavern is homey and warm. Their bar is centric to the space and bartenders mix up a rotating menu of artisan cocktails and serve Chicago-centric beers and an extensive wine program. The crowd there on a Saturday afternoon was quieter than other brunch places we’ve been and was a mix of young families with children and young professionals. There’s no loud TVs or music here, just a quiet ambiance of a neighborhood tavern.
One judge of a great brunch place is a Bloody Mary. There’s nothing better to add a pep to the start of your day or to help cure any remnants of your previous evening’s activities. Bentley’s Bloody Mary is made with dill-infused vodka, an interesting departure from other vodkas we’ve seen used in others. Combined with a delicious, somewhat spicy, tomato juice mix, it was light and refreshing with just the right amount of zing. Garnished modestly with a celery stalk, lemon wedge, and a bamboo skewer with olives, it was definitely a stand-out.

For brunch entrees, we relied on insight from our server on what we should try. She first recommended that we try the Root Vegetable Hash.
A seasonal mix of root vegetables are sautéed up with simple salt, pepper and spices, and served topped with a fried egg. Underneath is a generous portion of short ribs that were other-worldy. Slow-cooked and succulent, the short ribs were sweet and smoky and fall-of-the-bone tender. The combination of the cooked vegetables, fried egg, and pork belly was enough to make our eyes roll back into our heads. It’s was that good.

Next, we sampled the Short Rib Sandwich. More of the succulent short rib meat is served up with caramelized onions on a hoagie roll. While the menu has it served up with a fried egg, we opted to try it with traditional garnishes of tomato, red onion, and arugula. The sandwich is served up with frites lightly dusted with sea salt and served with a house-made ketchup. It was the perfect portion size and we couldn’t get enough of the short ribs!

Lastly, we sampled Bentley’s spin on a breakfast classic: Eggs Benedict. The Bentley Benedict starts with a delicious cornmeal cake generously topped with their pork belly, spears of cooked asparagus, poached egg, and then drizzled with Hollandaise sauce. Like the short ribs, the pork belly didn’t disappoint. Moist and melt-in-your-mouth delicious, the pork belly couldn’t have been any more perfect that it was. Combined with the crunchiness of the cornmeal cake, tender asparagus, fluffy egg whites, and rich Hollandaise and egg yolks running together, it’s ruined Eggs Benedict for us, for good. We loved this Southern spin on Eggs Benedict and almost put in for another order.

Having such a great introduction to The Bentley Tavern at brunch, we can’t wait to go back soon and try their dinner menu and cocktails. We hear their oysters are to die for, too.
While a departure from another one of our favorite brunch spots in Chicago, The Bentley will not disappoint. It’s a great option for a quiet brunch with friends in one of the neighborhoods we love the most: Lincoln Park!
The Bentley Tavern
2834 N Southport (north of Diversey)
Monday-Thursday: 5 PM-midnight
Friday: 5 PM-2 AM
Saturday: 9:30 AM-2 AM (Brunch, 9:30 AM-3:30 PM; Dinner, 5 PM-midnight)
Sunday: 9:30 AM-11 PM (Brunch, 9:30 AM-3:30 PM; Dinner, 5 PM-11 PM)
Reservations accepted

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