Saturday Night Sampler:Jam in Logan Square

December 10, 2011 (CHICAGO)

Over the next three weeks, we'll be answering that weekly question of "where should we meet for breakfast Sunday morning?" We're hitting both the city and the suburbs and we begin in Logan Square this week where one of my favorite a.m. rituals has moved to a new location and extended their hours.

French toast and pancakes almost always signal the kitchen is serious about breakfast. But these two innocuous dishes get major upgrades at the new Jam in Logan Square, which recently relocated from its original Ukrainian Village location. The French toast here is stuffed with malted custard, topped with macerated cherries, a bit of lime leaf cream and pink peppercorns, along with freshly-grated lime zest, which breaks up the monotony of starch in the usual plate. Same goes for the pumpkin pancakes, crowned with a maple merengue and crunchy pepito, or pumpkin seed brittle.

"We're sort of calling it a modern diner, if you will. It's breakfast and lunch and we serve it all day from 7 am to 9 pm. Seven days a week," said Chef Jeffrey Mauro.

Brunch might begin simply, with a soft scramble, a-k-a english muffin and eggs topped with potato-bacon foam and caviar. Think you know what a breakfast sandwich is? When was the last time you saw ricotta cheese and plum preserves slathered on thick ciabatta, then buried by soft, shredded pork, only be topped off with a fried egg?

"The few people that we have here have a considerable amount of fine dining experience and yeah, we want to elevate breakfast. I have a lot of brunch experience in fine-dining restaurants and there's room for it to be a daily occurrence, a daily occasion, actually," Mauro said.

Lunch brings a fine assortment of sandwiches, including a salty, meaty panini cristo: thinly-sliced prosciutto and taleggio cheese join bitter rapini and mustard jam while a crunchy apple-fennel slaw offers great textural contrast. Mauro says it's rare that a new kitchen gets to be built from the ground-up with so much of a focus on breakfast.

"To take all of the things that we've known...whether it's combinations of flavors or certain techniques, all those things we picked up and... put them into breakfast-style items," said Mauro.

Jam also has a daily "blue plate" special, and they are open for dinner now as well.

3059 W Logan Blvd
(773) 292-6011

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