When chefs and brothers Rick and David Rodriguez decided to open a restaurant, they were inspired by Ron Swanson, the Parks and Recreation character with a deep love for breakfast food. Thus was born Whisk, which combines brunch, burgers, and breakfast for dinner, all with a Mexican spin. The restaurant opens early and serves a classic brunch menu—pancakes, omelets, hash, and benedicts (on the weekends)—adding sandwiches, burgers, and salads to the options starting at 11 AM. After 5 they change to the burger-focused dinner menu, which retains a few breakfast dishes like steak and eggs, chicken and waffles, huevos rancheros, and chilaquiles (you can also order some of the burgers "breakfast style," replacing the bun with French toast or adding an egg, chorizo, and/or hollandaise).
When I went to Whisk on a recent Friday night, though, I thought it was going to be breakfast time before we ever got seated. We were told that there would be a ten-minute wait, but 20 minutes later there was no sign of a table freeing up. It turned out to be 40 minutes before we got a table, which wouldn't have been so bad if we'd been told what to expect, or if we hadn't already been ravenous when we arrived.
Buffalo chicken wings (a special of the day) were a little greasy and not at all spicy, but by the time we got them we were so hungry that it didn't really matter. Burgers, on the other hand, were excellent. The Horseshoe, served open face on Texas toast and topped with fries, jalapenos, and bacon bits, then slathered with pepper jack sauce, was cooked perfectly medium (as requested) and the Angus beef was nicely seasoned. I also liked the combination of flavors in the chorizo burger (half ground chuck, half chorizo), topped with pepper jack cheese, poblano avocado spread, and pickled red onion. But the fries could have been fried harder—they weren't soggy, but they certainly weren't crispy. Nor were the chilaquiles, which did veer into the territory of sogginess. Fortunately the crispy chicken tacos did turn out to be crispy, though the chimichurri aioli didn't contribute a lot of flavor.
Whisk is BYOB but offers the most impressive soda list I've seen—though I'm not sure I've ever seen a soda list on a separate menu before. The 20-plus options include butterscotch root beer, rose elderflower sparkling lemonade, grapefruit, chamomile, and cardamom soda, plus Coke and Sprite for the unadventurous.
Whisk, 2018 W. Chicago, 773-252-9060, whiskchicago.com