Good Morning Gators!
Some of you may recognize the exterior of this place. In a former life it was OMG! Brunch and Boutique which I had reviewed twice before. I don’t know what the back story is but it certainly isn’t unusual for a place to go belly up and the spot get re vamped.I actually had no idea that it went through a transformation until the GPS put me in front of it. OMG I said to myself.
We were about 15 minutes early so we sat in the BREKFST mobile and watched a couple of the employees show up for work and another one sit outside and relax.
It was time to go and per SOP Diane went inside and I took photos.
The interior is clean modern and carpet free with a subtle chicken flavor. New age music is playing quietly in the background. It’s reasonably spacious and the tables are not crammed together. On the down side they do have benches with 4 top tables that put you pretty close to your neighbors. You know I really dislike that arrangement.
Our very friendly server Crystal brought Coffee from Dark Matter Coffee Chicago. It was strong and had plenty of body.Good stuff 8
The menu is a bit extensive for my taste but not ridiculous. They have a section devoted to creating your own Skillet Omelette or Scramble with a plethora of ingredient choices. I think this just confounds people and slows down the ordering process. For us the choices were clear. We ordered up.
Rustic Panini toast, smashed avocado, grilled corn, black beans, jalapeño, sriracha aioli & poached eggs, choice of potato or fruit
Avocado Toast is a bit out of fashion nowadays but it remains on a few menus especially in the burbs. I admit that even though I make it at home I still order it if it looks interesting. This version was really more of a Benedict than it was Avocado toast so I think it was worth a try. This was a pretty good rendition. It could have used more Avocado but it was a good Combo. The aioli was spicy and delicious just past medium heat. 8 It wasn’t overpowering and it wasn’t overly Srirachad. I like Sriracha but I’m kind of over it. The poached eggs were definitely under. You know I have no problem with runny yolks but I don’t care for snotty egg whites. Fail. 4 The toast was toasted. You may think that’s a strange statement but more often than not I find that toast is one of those simple things that a lot of places screw up. 8 The corn bean pepper tomato stuff on the toast was seasoned well and at the same spice level as the aioli. 8 Overall a good combo. It’s a keeper that should be moved to the Benedict section of the menu so they can stop calling it Avocado Toast. 8 We chose fruit rather than spuds. A good choice it was. It made for a good break from the spicy toast combo. It was a good variety and most everything was reasonably ripe. 8
Right off the bat I must say, the crew at Stray Hen must love working there. From the hostess to the waitstaff to the manager George, smiles and conversation with patrons comes easy to them. The coffee was strong and hot and real cream came to the table in tiny pitchers. so far so good. ( I loathe half and half in plastic cuppies). 8
As Gator mentioned, the menu was full of many choices, and it was rather easy to scope out the dishes with a twist. I have seen many variations on Avocado toast, most too loaded with mishmash of ingredients that just don’t gel. This had a nicely seasoned avocado mash and fresh sweet corn as well as a spicy sauce drizzle. I liked the sourdough toast as a base. The combination worked very well. Fruit cups are rarely remarkable but the fruit was ripe and not at all mushy 7
Perfectly Un Kosher Skillet
Bone-in ham, bacon, sausage, green peppers, caramelized onions, cheddar cheese
Reese’s® Peanut Butter Cup Pancakes ($2 Upgrade)
The Skillet was presented in a stainless steel bowl with handles which I have seen in a bunch of places. I hate em. First the food cools off too fast in this device, and second it reminds me of a Dog Dish. I get it. It’s some sort of decorative element but to me it will always be a Dog Dish.
I bashed the poached eggs on the last dish but they made up for it here. The over easy eggs were near perfect 9 The “filling” was very good. 8 I actually could do without the cheese but it’s fine either way. The potatoes tasted freshly prepared on the flattop rather than dropped in the fryer like most places. This is a good meaty potatoey skillet. It is reorder able 8
I enjoy the silver skillet because it’s cute, and the deep sides make it easier to get the goods on your fork. So even though we disagree on the plating used….. I must say this dish we agreed upon. the potatoes were seasoned well and the ham was smoky and delicious 8
The Pancakes were Fluffy Airy but not dry. Good house made cakes. The topping was peanut buttery but not too sweet. Served with butter and Fake Maple Syrup. (see rant page) A winner 8 I DO have to mention that the original WHISK location in Chicago has the best version of these.
The cakes were very yummy but peanut butter sauce was a bit too liberally applied. There was no need for syrup one you spread a bit of real butter on the cakes. They serve softened butter in tiny cups. Nice touch 9
Apple Churros French Toast
Cinnamon and sugar dusted, vanilla bean cream, warm brown sugar and butter caramelized apples
Well most of you know that restaurant french toast and I often don’t get along very well. It’s usually too dry and rushed. Unfortunately this was no exception so they get the DREADED ALTON BROWN FRENCH TOAST LINK (See my rant page for more) The toast tasted good. It was well grilled crisp caramelized and sweet without offending. The topping was good but I dislike the fact that the Apples were unpeeled. Bread was decent but really dry. The overall flavor raised the number up but I wasn’t real happy with my choice. 6
To be honest, I did not even taste the French toast in the restaurant. We brought it home and I nuked it the next day. The ingredients used were fresh and high quality, yet the rich egg bread was extremely dry. I would try the waffles instead which looked great and smelled heavenly as the were delivered to a nearby table 5
Again worth another mention….service is way above average, you feel very Welcomed here at Stray Hen 9
That’s it Kids
This is a good suburban spot that is definitely worth a visit. Our server was great and the food was above average. Give it a try.
As for us we are off to our next adventure
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