Mordecai is one of seven restaurants in Hotel Zachary, the upscale and swanky digs across from Wrigley Field that is rapidly becoming the restaurant and cocktail capital of Lakeview.
Named after Mordecai Brown, the pitcher who led the Chicago Cubs to back-to-back World Series victories in 1907 and 1908, the restaurant is a concept by Folkart Restaurant Management. The group is behind a half dozen craft-driven eateries and bars including Billy Sunday. Mordecai’s American-inspired fare is already a destination for discerning diners and game day revelry, but it’s new to the brunch scene as of December.
The restaurant’s first floor is small and warm – a perfect escape from a blustery March morning. Its wood-paneled bar and mid-century modern furniture give it a sleek and polished vintage vibe. It’s the kind of place where Don Draper would brunch.
My husband and I grabbed a table by the window overlooking the Wrigley Field marquee. On this particular Sunday it was not especially busy, which made for a relaxing pace and elevated feel.
The restaurant is known for vintage spirits and rare whiskeys, but at 11 a.m. that seemed aggressive even for cocktail connoisseurs like us. We opted for a frothy cappuccino and cava mimosa with fresh-squeezed orange juice. The pairing was a delightful and festive way to swing into our Sunday. After a quick peruse of the brunch menu, we ordered the cookie butter French toast, the quiche of the day, and the muesli.
French toast is my favorite brunch item, so I don’t dish out compliments frivolously. That said… this was the best French toast I have ever had!
The presentation was beautiful: pillowy toast topped with fluffy whipped cream, thinly-sliced apples and shaved white cheddar cheese, cascaded in a pool of applejack syrup and crunchy cookie crumbles. I think I actually let out a small, appropriate-volume-for-brunch shriek when it arrived at our table. I can only assume this is the welcome dish they serve in heaven. The most interesting part was the white cheddar and apples, which brought an unexpected savory element to this traditionally sweet dish. It was as delicious as it was Instagrammable.
The quiche was a Florentine with spinach and blue cheese, topped with lightly dressed mixed greens. As any enlightened bruncher knows, quiche can be hit or miss. Mordecai’s offering was certainly a hit with fresh ingredients and a buttery, flaky crust. The blue cheese gave it a distinct flavor that made it pop even more.
When you order muesli, you don’t necessarily expect to be wowed. Honestly, we really just ordered it to absolve our guilt about the French toast. However, we were pleasantly surprised by the sweet, milky deliciousness of the oats, nuts and fruit. It doesn’t look like much, but I would certainly recommend it. I’d say that I would order it again myself, but let’s be real: I’m ordering the cookie butter French toast from now until forever.
The Bitches say: five Champagne flutes! This Wrigleyville brunch was a home run, and I look forward to a doubleheader because I am definitely going back again this weekend.
Mordecai serves brunch Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.