Breakfast Brigade

A pedigreed new brunch spot in Lakeview

The combination of pork belly, eggs and pickled onions has become ubiquitous on brunch menus. Overplayed, even, we'd say.

But the Belly Sandwich ($10) at 2 Sparrows is an excellent reminder that not all bacon-egg-pickle pairings are alike.

At the new Lakeview brunch restaurant, run by a former Charlie Trotter's cook (Gregory Ellis) and server (Steven Fladung), slivered onions pop with sweet, lightly spiced brine. A liberal dose of cracked black pepper speckles the sunny-side-up local farm egg. The bacon is thick-cut and soft, and the biscuit is buttery, just dense enough to carry its burden to the mouth.

It's joined on the plate by oversize tater tots, dense, crisp-fried tangles of shredded potatoes, with house-made ketchup for dunking.

The restaurant's menu taps directly into such trends as shrimp and grits and ramen, but features the classics, too. On a recent visit, the market quiche ($10) was packed with leeks, Gruyère and cheddar, and served with a simple, flavorful salad of arugula and fennel. Buttermilk pancakes ($9) had an enviable fluffiness, though a topping of sautéed local Asian pears was wan.

Our next trip will be at lunchtime for a Cuban sandwich or corned beef on rye, to further test the kitchen's sandwich mettle.

2 Sparrows, 553 W. Diversey Ave.; 773-234-2320 or 2sparrowschicago.com