One ridiculously, and unusually, gorgeous Sunday in February, I picked up my best friend and we headed to the northern suburb of Evanston for some brunch and some vintage shopping.
I had been invited to check out the brunch at Hearth Restaurant; a charming, rustic fine dining restaurant located in the Homestead Hotel. Known for unique menu items featuring sustainable fare, Hearth is a hidden gem within the first floor of this vintage hotel.
While the hotel itself was quite quiet, we were pleasantly surprised to find the restaurant booming with patrons when we arrived around noon. Charlotte and I were seated at a table by the window in the back dining area.
Thirsty, we promptly ordered drinks; a coffee and a mimosa for me, and a Bloody Mary for Char. My coffee was fresh and piping hot, which I loved, but Charlotte’s Bloody was the real winner. It was perfectly spicy, and she enjoyed it so much that she ordered another one later on.
Okay, onto the menu. With lots of offerings on the Sunday brunch menu, ranging from sweets and small bites to large breakfast and brunch items, there was lots to choose from.
Anxious to sample the variety the menu had to offer, we decided to start with the avocado toast, the potato latke, and a stack of cinnamon roll pancakes. The avocado toast came topped with cured salmon, a dill crème fraîche and a soft boiled egg. The cured salmon was a little too fishy for my taste; I know what you are thinking, but it’s really the only way I can describe it! Charlotte, who loves smoked and cured salmon, agreed.
The potato latke was crispy, and served with an apple butter and crème fraîche. It was yummy, but there was nothing particularly special about it. The real winner of our first course was the stack of cinnamon roll pancakes.
These pancakes were divine; a little piece of heaven if you will. Dangerously decadent, they thankfully were just the right amount of sweetness. Topped with brown sugar crumbles and a cream cheese glaze, I must say that these pancakes were unlike any other pancakes I have ever had. They weren’t too heavy either, which I really enjoyed since I wanted to save room for my entree.
For entrees, I went outside of my normal brunch tendencies, and chose to go with the skirt steak eggs Benedict. Charlotte had decided on the Croque Madame from the moment she looked at the menu, and went with that.
My steak eggs Benedict were delicious. Served with wilted spinach, and a generous amount of house-made Hollandaise, and perfectly poached eggs—I really enjoyed my dish. I could have done without the excess of Hollandaise sauce, as it was more than I preferred. The steak was tender and cooked perfectly though, and I ate every last bite. I also overindulged by ordering a side of the cheesey grits, which were yummy as well. I could only eat so much though, because they were also very creamy and in addition to the Hollandaise, it was a lot.
Charlotte’s Croque Madame was good. She had wished that it had been more cheesy, but she enjoyed it nonetheless. She noted that more cheese would have helped the sandwich overall, as it was a bit dry and the thick slab of ham certainly contributed to its dryness.
Overall, brunch at Hearth was charming and delightful. The service was a little slow; drink and coffee refills took longer than I would have preferred, and ordering the food happened at a slower pace than I am used to at restaurants in the city. I attributed it to the restaurant being really busy and also maybe just the slower pace of the life in Evanston—maybe I move too fast, who knows.
Regardless, the staff were very friendly, and the hotel and restaurant are absolutely charming. It is a special spot perfect for a Sunday brunch with an old friend you have been wanting to catch up with, or a special family gathering. Have a long brunch relaxing with good company and yummy food, and then head out and explore all that Evanston has to offer.
The Bitches say B+. Hearth is a delightful brunch spot with some delicious menu offerings and libations. Located in the charming Homestead Hotel, this is truly a gem worth traveling outside of city limits to visit.
Hearth Restaurant at the Homestead
1625 Hinman Avenue
Hearth serves Sunday brunch from 9:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m.