Dale Levitski to start brunch at Sprout on March 20
Years and years ago—before he was on Top Chef, and way before he took over —Dale Levitski was known for one thing: Frushi. Of course, "fruit sushi" sounds like a tired concept now, but when (which still serves frushi at multiple locations around the city) first opened, it was a chef-driven concept, and Levitski was that chef.
Understandably, the chef has been a little sheepish about getting back into the brunch game. "It's kind of a long time coming," he says. "There's a little bit of an expectation, I think."
I had to ask the chef: At Sprout's new brunch, which kicks off on Sunday, March 20, will he be serving frushi? He just laughed and said: "I should so slap you..."
So don't expect pancake flights and orange-flavored coffee at Sprout. But do expect the a la carte menu to be full of items that Levitski hopes will become just as notorious. Most restaurant brunch menus "hit all the basics and then have a few signature items," he says. "We're doing the opposite."
Some of the dishes that may become signatures: A house-smoked sturgeon platter with caviar, mustard, creme fraiche, apple-cabbage slaw and pumpernickle; foie gras deviled eggs; "crab-puppy" fried skirt steak (skirt steak coated in crab-hushpuppy batter—"like a chicken-fried steak on crack," Levitski says); rabbit hash; a chicken Caesar salad omelette, which will encompass the entire salad, croutons and all ("It does taste just like a chicken Caesar salad...but on paper it sounds gross..."); a peanut butter-and-jelly Monte Cristo sandwich; the grilled cheese sandwich that has been Sprout's signature cheese course on the dinner menu ("it's the ultimate hangover cure...it's worked on a few people here at the restaurant..."); and, because he knows he's going to get requests for egg-white dishes, a Green City Market egg-white omelette.
And here's another signature aspect of the brunch: No kids.
"I guess we're adult-only," Levitski explains. "We're more of a white tablecloth resaurant. [Our brunch] is more for teenagers and above. [Sometimes you] go out to brunch and there are kids smashing Cheerios next to you. We're not that kind of place."
"It's not that we're being haters," he continues. "We just don't have a kids menu." (The restaurant also has only one high chair and no room for strollers.) "There's a lot of places in Lincoln Park that cater to children. So we're choosing not to."
Brunch will occur on Sundays from 10:30am–2:30pm. For the first few weeks it will be sort of in soft-open mode: On the 20th, only 50 people will be seated; the next week it will get bumped up to 75.
"It's our trial-by-fire kind of brunch," Levitski says. He sounds vaguely nervous. But don't worry about him—he's done brunch before.