Brunching is more than just an activity for me, it is a passion. My brunching occasions are often well-thought out; I typically plan my whole weekend out according to brunch. If I have things I want to do or see, I will hunt for a “brunch-worthy” spot to dine at near there, or vice versa; I will seek out a brunch spot intentionally and then spend my post-brunch time discovering the surrounding area.
While constantly seeking out the best brunch spots can be fun, it can also be exhausting. Not to mention that sometimes disappointment ensues after brunching somewhere that has been so hyped up, only to discover it was a let down. So I also like to balance my time discovering and sharing neighborhood gems that are also worthy of a brunch review.
This is when a place like Taus Authentic shines. Taus Authentic has been around for a few years now, but is not necessarily on everybody’s brunch radar, although it is certainly worthy of it.
Michael Taus is a well-known, and even more well-liked, Chicago chef. One of Charlie Trotter’s proteges in the ’90s, he went on to open Zealous, a highly regarded restaurant in the suburbs, one that was named one of the Best New Restaurants in Chicago Magazine, and a venture that put him on the map of chefs to watch in Chicago.
Twenty plus years later, Taus is still a successful restaurateur, but still very much a chef. The menu at Taus Authentic reflects his personal cooking style with a unique and inspiring take on exciting dishes, as well as his spin on dishes that he grew up loving as a child, learning to cook from his own father.
Located in the heart of Ukrainian Village/Wicker Park on Division St., Taus Authentic is a more upscale establishment than its surrounding counterparts. Outside boasts a large patio, with comfortable seating and large umbrellas to provide shade from the sun on a hot day. Inside, warm interiors showcase a beautiful well-lit space, styled with plush couches, warm wooden accents, and gorgeous chandeliers.
The Bitches are no stranger to Taus Authentic; we hosted our Spring Rosé Event to celebrate the James Beard Foundation Awards there. The space was perfect for having 40 fellow foodies for an afternoon of light bites and rosé, to celebrate the JBF awards here in Chicago.
Taus Authentic is extremely close to where Chris and I live, so after having stopped in for dinner many a times, (and for an occasional nightcap!), we decided to come check out brunch finally.
Per usual, Chef Taus was floating around the restaurant. Never have I been to Taus Authentic before and not seen him in his white chef’s jacket out on the floor, mingling with guests and shaking hands with patrons. Even just walking through the neighborhood I have bumped into him outside.
I was so excited to eat brunch after having gone on a morning hike with Chris and our dog, Buster, who we brought along for brunch on the patio. I promptly ordered a mimosas and Chris ordered a coffee. I have had the coffee at Taus Authentic before, and it is a beautiful and unique blend specifically for the restaurant made by Sparrow coffee. I have mentioned it before in past reviews, but I am a big fan of Sparrow.
At our event back in May, one of the small bites we had was chef’s avocado toast. I had a taste of it back then, but I was looking forward to having the whole thing, so we ordered one to start with.
Upon the arrival of our drinks, we were also greeted with two small plates. Chef had sent over a mini tasting of his dish, the “creamed eggs.” He kindly came over to say hi as well, and he told us a little about how his father used to make a similar dish growing up and how he always loved it. The eggs were perfectly soft scrambled, and definitely creamy with a hint of black pepper, atop of a perfectly buttered piece of toast. Yummy!
I had been eyeing the housemade pecan cinnamon sticky bun. While we are on the subject of childhood breakfast items, I should mention that this was something we used to have in our home growing up, albeit the store-bought version. I couldn’t resist giving in to nostalgia and ordering that to start with as well. The brunch menu boasts several housemade pastries, so it was difficult to chose just one, but my inner child took over.
The avocado toast and sticky bun arrived, and they both looked delicious. The avocado toast was salty and savory, and tastes almost like a B.L.T., thanks to the Vegenaise and the turkey bacon. It is a large serving, so I saved room for my other dishes and took a portion home.
Meanwhile, the sticky bun was divine. It was great, bite after bite; warm and sticky, wrapped in all of its caramel, nutty goodness.
For entrees, there had been something that I couldn’t stop thinking about since first walking in the door. I had seen the chalkboard sign out front which mentioned “Aunt Reba’s Famous Fried Chicken” and truth be told, it was all I had been thinking about.
I gave into temptation and ordered it because I know I would have regretted it if I hadn’t. Also available on the dinner menu, this is a house specialty and something that Chef Michael has been regarded for. How could I go wrong?
Chris decided to go with the braised pork tamale, with much encouragement from me. I love a good tamale and this one sounded delicious. We agreed we would share our dishes with each other so it was a win-win.
The fried chicken came out with sides of crispy breakfast potatoes and scrambled eggs. It was perfectly golden brown and looked extremely crispy. I’ll be honest, a part of me was craving the sweetness of a typical chicken and waffles dish, so I did ask for a side of syrup.
My fried chicken was awesome. It was, in fact, crisped to perfection. The golden brown color was just what you would want out of anything fried, and it worked perfectly well with the buttery taste of the chicken skin. The chicken was great, perfectly moist and crunchy—just how I like it. I won’t lie though; if the chef turned away from the savory and decided to make this a sweet chicken and waffle dish, I would be back in a heartbeat. Already a stellar brunch dish, I think that might take it over the top! Just a thought.
The braised pork tamale was equally as delicious; I loved this dish. The tamale was large, a perfect size to share with Chris. The scrambled poblano eggs were tasty, as was the corn mix topped with cotija cheese. The salsa verde was incredible; full of flavor, yet not too overpowering. If you read my Lula Cafe review, you will know that I am a sucker for a good salsa verde on top of eggs, and this certainly was no exception.
Taus Authentic is a beautiful spot in the neighborhood, that is about five steps ahead of the restaurant’s nearby competition in the brunch game. Come for the food, come back for the service and hospitality. This place looks fancy, but it isn’t pretentious at all. You can come and expect a good meal, and feel good about the money you spent. A neighborhood gem, it is perfect for weekend brunch or dinner, or just some cocktails on the patio.
The Bitches Say: A. We loved Taus Authentic and find this spot to be one of the more underrated brunch spots in the city. Definitely stop in while it is still nice for the patio, but look forward to winter afternoons cozying up by the fire in the gorgeous inside space. Brunch is great, with an array of dishes to please all palates.
1846 West Division St.
Chicago, IL 60622
Taus Authentic serves weekend brunch on Saturdays from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.