"Morning Wood" has returned.
This provocative name was given to the brunch service at Boystown/Northalsted restaurant Wood, 3335 N. Halsted St., and it drew lots of people before the COVID pandemic changed the world.
However, like a phoenix, this weekend event has returnedand Wood hasn't missed a beat.
Start with drinksand there's a wide variety. There are the standard brunch drinks (Bloody Mary, Moscow Mule and mimosa); and house cocktails such as Letter to the Editor (a rum-and-mango brandy concoction I had the last time I visited) and the Two Timer (Peruvian Pisco brandy, apricot nectar, yellow chartreuse, lemon, cinnamon stick and syrup). However, I went with something on draft: B. Nektar "Necromangocon" honey meadand it was absolutely delicious. (It was also very attractive to several flying, stinging insectsprompting my friend and I to move inside from Wood's patio.)
As for the culinary offerings, there is, again, a mixof the sweet and savory, although the menu definitely leans toward the former. (Pancakes or waffles, maybe?) There are a few omelets, huevos rancheros and French toastbut that last one is a doozy (although we didn't order it). The "F&F" foie gras French toast consists of house-made pumpkin-bread French toast, caramelized pears, pumpkin seeds, sunny-side egg, delicata squash and maple syrup. This is one of those dishes I'll probably try the next time I visit. Also, Wood offers cheese blintzesricotta-stuffed crepes with caramelized farm peaches, honey and Marcona almonds; this is another dish I'll have to try another time. I already know about the delightfully punchy salad Lyonnaise.
We started with beignetsand who can say no to fried balls of dough, especially when they're topped with cinnamon and sugar (and accompanied by ancho chili-spiced hot chocolate for dipping)? My friend said he could "probably eat 200 of these"although, at $7 for two, he'd probably stop at four. (By the way, most of the other items are pretty reasonably priced.)
The breakfast pizza is a novel idea to somealthough I've certainly encountered others at various restaurants. However, like the beignets, this is one of the better ones I've had. It's a delectable item, complete with mornay sauce, arugula, housemade lardo, caramelized onions and fried egg.
Then there are the sandwiches. My friend opted for the pastrami Reuben and absolutely loved it. It's layered just as a Reuben should be (house-smoked pastrami, sauerkraut, pickles, Gruyere and Russian dressing on toasted rye), and was coupled with the most addictive beef-fat fries. I went for the turkey burger but like most things at Wood, it came with a twist. The burger comes with avocado (which I declined), ginger, teriyaki glaze, cilantro and chipotle aioli. To be honest, I gave it an eight out of 10; there was a little too much glaze for me, but Executive Chef Devin Kreller knows what he's doing.
I know several people who love Woodand I certainly understand why. The restaurant offers many delicious items, and the more unusual dishes keep you guessingif you're willing to take a chance.
Wood's website is http://woodchicago.com/.
COVID protocols: Patrons are supposed to wear masks when not eating and drinking. Wood staffers wear masks and the menus are QR-coded.
Note: This visit was arranged.