I love the food and especially the whiskey that comes to mind when thinking about classic Southern comforts. So, when I discovered Drawl, a new, American Southern restaurant in Lincoln Park, I was excited to check it out. Drawl is the perfect mix of modern American with a Southern accent. Think Reese Witherspoon and you’ll have a good feel for the restaurant’s overall vibe.
When you step into the restaurant, it’s like being transported into the pages of Southern Living. You’re met with bright, white wicker chairs and a large exposed brick wall, which leads your eyes to the exotic, yet classy, wallpaper that adorns most of the restaurant. It screams chic, southern, and stylish. The restaurant feels bright, inviting, and comforting.
We started off with a couple of their signature cocktails; the Alexandria, which was a sweet mix of vodka, rich chocolate cold-brew coffee, and vermouth. This drink was decadent, satisfying my love for both coffee and cocktails at brunch.
We also ordered Drawl’s take on the classic Manhattan. They added Kashmiri Amaro, a liqueur of Indian spices like cardamom and black pepper, alongside savory Italian herbs and roots, adding a warming and savory hint. This drink was more traditional and balanced out the sweetness of the Alexandria very nicely. Both drinks were well crafted and delightful; a great start to our meal.
First up we ordered the seasonal French toast to share. With caramelized peaches and a sweet tea and lemon syrup drizzled over the gooey cinnamon-spiced streusel, this dish easily could have been too rich, but the thick bread helped to balance it out nicely. The sweet tea reduction was a welcome substitute to maple syrup and really complemented the warming spices. The pecans added a nice crunch and texture, which really brought the dish together.
The fried green tomato Benedict was a real winner. It was served on top of two perfectly fried green tomatoes, in lieu of the traditional English muffin, in a perfect southern touch. The eggs were poached to perfection and slathered in a sweet piquillo pepper Hollandaise sauce. It paired well with the savory green pea hummus, which, to my surprise, added great flavor and creaminess.
We rounded out the meal with the pulled pork hash, I was eager to see how these flavors would go together and I was definitely satisfied with the outcome. The red potatoes were sliced ultra-thin and crispy, which made a lovely base for the tender and juicy maple glazed pork. The pickled red onions added a nice color and tangy crunch to the dish. The habanero cream sauce gave it a lovely smoky flavor without being too spicy and paired very well with the sweet maple glaze on the pork. We were impressed with how well all the contrasting flavors melded together.
Each dish had a surprising and flavorful southern touch, which our taste buds greatly appreciated. All the dishes were quite rich in flavor, without being overwhelming; I left feeling full and satisfied.
We enjoyed our meal and wanted to love this place and maybe we would have, had it not been for the subpar service. While our waiter was nice enough, the service was very slow. It took a long time for our food to arrive and when it did all the dishes were just warm, by the time we finished them they were pretty much cold. Also, it also took almost 10 minutes and a reminder to get our check at the end of the meal. I’m not sure if this is a regular occurrence, or if we just caught them on a bad day, but it definitely affected our overall experience.
The Bitches say: 3½ flutes. Drawl is a welcome addition to the Lincoln Park neighborhood, adding an upscale brunch experience to the area. The food was flavorful, comforting, and perfectly portioned, but the service was slow and not the friendliest.
Drawl serves Brunch Saturday and Sunday 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.