French cuisine, art, and fashion—in my opinion, life’s greatest indulgences have been perfected by the French. Ever since my first trip to France, I was in love with everything and anything French. The love went so far as to major in it in college—I’ve read more existential literature than I ever hoped to read, but I have a true appreciation for the language, the culture, and of course, the food.
Chez Moi is a small, quaint French bistro in the heart of Lincoln Park that I have walked by countless times. So, when we were invited to try the brand new brunch at Chez Moi, I was incredibly excited to take them up on the offer.
I invited one of my dear friends, Tiffany, to be my plus one. I’ve known Tiffany since freshman year of high school in Maryland, but it wasn’t until I moved here that we had the chance to really forge a friendship. It’s always great seeing her since she reminds me of the comforts of home.
I had a busy day ahead of me on this particular Saturday, so I was anxious and was at the front door even before Chez Moi was open for business—eager beaver much? Chez Moi opened the doors promptly at 10:30 a.m. and let me take my pick from the tables in the dining room.
Chez Moi is a minimalistically decorated spot that screams old French countryside. There were beautiful and simple chandeliers hanging from the incredibly tall ceilings, large paintings hung on the walls, and simple furniture throughout—I loved it immediately.
The manager, Morgan, was gracious enough to take the time to chat with me about the changes Chez Moi made to the brunch menu, and offer some pointers on which cocktails and entrees to try.
Besides the need to be well caffeinated, the “Chez Moi Special Brunch Creations” caught my eye—sign me up! I had a hankering for a mimosa that morning, but the mimosa royale stood out. The royale version includes a bit of orange blossom liqueur. I didn’t know what that was, but I had to try it. The mimosa royale definitely steps up the game of the classic champagne with orange juice with just the simplest of additions. Delicious!
Once Tiffany arrived, she saw my mimosa and immediately ordered one. She was also impressed by the cocktail, but the kitchen was kind enough to send up another beverage for us to try.
Another one of Chez Moi’s signature cocktails is the French onion Bloody Mary. Trust me, I was quite perplexed when it arrived, and let Tiffany take the first sip. Tiffany is a big fan of French onion soup, so this beverage was right up her alley. It was salty, had a strong onion flavor, and was potent thanks to the vodka. The drink wasn’t for me, but Tiffany did enjoy it!
As Tiffany and I ordered our entrees, Morgan asked us if we were willing to try some other dishes. Of course we were!
Much to our delight, the kitchen sent us the pain perdu au framboises, which was this heaping plate of brunch delights! Brioche French toast topped with raspberry coulis, strawberries, blueberries, and orange slices. The entree tasted as delicious as it looks in the photo—absolute perfection.
Tiffany decided to step outside her classic eggs Benny box and went with au salmon fume—translation: smoked salmon eggs Benedict. The combination of smoked salmon, white truffle Hollandaise, and capers was heavenly and the eggs were perfectly poached. I took a bite, along with some fries and really enjoyed both. Many people may not necessarily be drawn to this dish, but it is absolutely worth the try!
For my entree, this was an easy choice: a Croque Madame. I have been obsessed with this dish since my first visit to France. The middle school I went to required us to take French, but our wonderful teacher incorporated not only language skills, but food into the curriculum. Score! So, upon going to France with my mom in 7th grade, I ate Croque Monsieurs for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Who would say “no” to ham, swiss, smothered in Bechamel, and a fried egg? French trivia: The fried egg on top is what changes the sandwich from a Monsieur to a Madame—if it’s ever a Jeopardy question, now you’ll know! It was a delicious dish, with perfectly toasted bread, and the side salad was incredible. The vinaigrette definitely made the simple salad noteworthy.
I was so happy to finally have the time to go to this French-inspired gem. All of the food was delicious, the staff was amiable and knowledgeable, and I can’t wait till the patio opens this spring so I can venture and have another mimosa royale outside.
The Bitches say: A. The new brunch menu at Chez Moi is not only delicious, but well-balanced in savory and sweet. The staff is incredibly helpful and kind, and the mimosa royale is a cocktail to be had by all!
2100 N Halsted St.
Chicago, IL 60614
Chez Moi serves brunch every Saturday and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.