My good friends Jenn Hen and Lisa Bleed have been going to Treat for brunch for quite a while now. For some reason I have never been able to make it. I have been to Treat for dinner and it was wonderful. The samosas are some of my favorite in the city. I could drink the cilantro chutney that comes with them as a smoothie it is so good. I was addicted to their tandoori chicken sandwich at the Logan Square Framers Market last summer. Tamiz really knows how to infuse flavors into his dishes without making them overpowering. So, why not brunch? I’m telling you right now, don’t make the same mistake that I did. Wake up and get yourself over there.
First off, the restaurant is the cutest space, painted a bright enough yellow to be cheery, yet still sophisticated. The chairs are simple yet modern and the artwork on the walls is always interesting and edgy, but still dining friendly. It truly is cozy. (I saw the space when it was a fast food chicken shack. I cannot believe the transformation.)
The brunch menu is very interesting, which is what I look for at a restaurant. Why do I want to order the same old boring dish, Sunday after Sunday, at different restaurants? Give me something interesting to choose from. And that is exactly what Tamiz did at Treat. While you have your classic brunch items, the menu is “spiced up” with Indian twists here and there. French toast is Masala French Toast. Buttermilk pancakes come with the option of home-made chai syrup. Who needs regular old pancake syrup with that choice? You can make your own omelet with wilted spinach and paneer, which is an Indian farmers cheese. (All the savory dishes are served with spicy potatoes. We will get to those in a minute. I need a whole paragraph to gush about those.)
What we ordered……I was torn between the Pakora Pancakes and the Daal, Poori and Eggs. Jenn and Lisa always order the Daal, Poori and Eggs, without even looking at the menu by now. I really wanted eggs and potatoes, but that Pakora Pancake was calling my name. Plus, I don’t think I have ever been at a table where all three people order the same thing. I don’t think I could let that happen with a clean conscious! I wanted to try three different things, but who was I to muscle in on this tradition of Jenn and Lisa’s? God forbid they didn’t invite me join them again. Hmmm…what to do, what to do. Jenn seemed to be contemplating the Saag Panner Scramble. She had never noticed it on the menu, because she probably didn’t even have to look anymore. Her favorite dish was ingrained in her memory. It all worked out in the end.
I ordered the Daal, Poori and Eggs. Talk about an exciting different breakfast. This was it! The daal, stewed chickpeas, was spiced just perfect for breakfast. That is Tamiz and his refined taste. Eggs cooked perfect over easy and the potatoes….those potatoes. If they are not infamous, they should be. Let me try to describe them, even though I know I will not do them justice. It was actually a potato cake…but a mashed potato cake, sort of, meaning it wasn’t shredded. But it had some chunks of potato in it. The cake tasted like it was spiced with curry, giving it that subtle edge of intriguing flavor without being overpowering. It was then pan fried. The texture was creamy, but it had texture (like your mom’s perfect mashed potatoes) and it was not greasy at all, as breakfast potatoes can be sometimes. It was the perfect vehicle for the egg yolk and the daal, although the poori, fried Indian flatbread, was also. Fried, but not greasy, light and airy and crispy.
I also ordered the Pakora pancake. How could I not? A single one is offered on the menu. Very smart idea. I am sure it was a common request. Tamiz’s interpretation of pakora, which is usually a fritter of onions or other vegetable dipped in chickpea flour and deep-fried, is perfect. He basically made a savory pancake with chick pea flour (so it is gluten-free), put the onions inside, just enough to add flavor and texture, topped it with wilted spinach and served it with that addictive cilantro chutney and the tamarind chutney, which is good, just not drinkable as a smoothie like the cilantro chutney. All for $3.75. Toast, shmoast! Order one for the table to share. It’s a no brainer. I did share, didn’t I Jenn and Lisa? It is quite possible that I subconsciously stabbed them with a fork as they tried to take a bite. I may have blocked out that part. I’ll check their hands for puncture wounds next time I see them!
Lisa ordered her standby of Daal, Poori and Eggs. She just couldn’t make the plunge to switch it up. Lisa must have been starving after that Spin class she took, because she finished her entire breakfast. Talk about clean plate club. She said something about the social acceptance of plate licking and I reminded her she didn’t live in Nashville anymore!
Jenn was much more the team player in ordering something new and different for purposes of my research. After much deliberation and possible kicking under the table, by me, she ended up ordering the Saag Panner Scramble, which was eggs, paneer and spinach scrambled together served with pooris and those amazing potatoes. She was very happy with her choice. Even happier that I shared my daal with her. See, I can play nice and share, sometimes!
I will quote Jenn as saying “You know the food is good when you dance in your seat, when you are eating it!” My thoughts exactly. I am glad that I am not the only one who does that. I totally do a little dance in my seat when I eat food that I really like, especially if it is for the first time. You know me, I love discovering new good food. So, throw on the Donna Summer and get ready to dance like you are at a disco when you are at Treat. I’ll probably see you there, maybe we can do the bump!