Glenview’s Orange Restaurant: “Contemporary Brunch with a Peel”

This adorable, bright and sunny restaurant is just what the doctor ordered on a recent wintery North Shore day.

I’m a breakfast person; never met a morning bread product that I didn’t like. And eggs? I’ve studiously ignored every cholesterol warning. Don’t get between me and my omelet or you’ll be sorry.

So I felt uniquely qualified to strap on my breakfast feedbag and get to work. It wasn’t difficult to find eating companions, and we were hungry. The experience started out strong (literally) with a fine cup of roast java. Even the decaf was tasty, and it’s brought to the table in thermal carafes and left for easy refills. They will grind it for you fresh to take home ($4/quarter pound), a nice touch.

The menu looks promising, with many interesting twists on standard breakfast foods, including a weekly themed Pancake Flight ($10.95) that features four small portions of different pancake preparations.

We began with Orange’s signature Frushi, a changing presentation of fruit sushi ($2.50 for 1st serving, $1.50 for each additional). The plating of this treat is colorful, with plenty of fresh fruit ringing the plate. The sticky sushi rice, one infused with cantaloupe and the other with coconut, is wrapped around fresh fruit (in this case, strawberries and kiwi). Mango and strawberry purees fill in for soy sauce and wasabi. The frushi was refreshing and different, although a little difficult to eat.

Not surprisingly, we opted for breakfast foods, although there is a nice selection of sandwiches and salads (the California Chicken Wrap ($9.95) with jalapeno mayo, bacon and mango and the Morning Sunrise Salad ($10.95), a spinach salad with caramelized smoked bacon, poached egg and gouda cheese, sounded particulary yummy).

First up, the French Toast Kabob ($8.95). This coconut-infused toast was skewered with fresh pineapples and strawberries, with an extra slice on the side for good measure. It’s drizzled with honey and served with a sprightly coconut-mango salad. I liked the play of textures and the consistency of the French toast was right.

The Jelly Doughnut Pancakes ($8.95) – a stack of 3 plate-size buttermilk pancakes with a dollop of homemade jelly sandwiched in between and a small scoop of softened preserved citrus butter on top – could have used more jelly; the bites without it were a little lacking. Loved the sugar sprinkled on top – just like a doughnut! – but didn’t appreciate the cold maple syrup on the table. Syrup should be warmed so that the pancake temp doesn’t plunge. No one likes an icy pancake, no matter how tasty.

The egg situation was iffy. We enjoyed the Green Eggs and Ham ($8.95), eggs scrambled with fresh pesto, diced ham and roasted tomatoes, topped with a slice of buffalo mozzarella and accompanied by house potatoes and toast. A well-seasoned, tasty dish.

Not so much with the oddly-titled Omelet #6 (there are three omelets offered, all at $8.95). The omelet was stuffed with asparagus, mushrooms and garlic and mixed with dry Jack cheese, topped with toasted almonds and a drizzle of too-sweet balsamic vinegar reduction. Despite all the savory veggies, the omelet was bizarrely sweet.

The waiter quickly rescued me and replaced it with the Omelet #11.5, stuffed with chopped bacon, sautéed leeks and brie, topped with an “avocado mousse,” which was actually a scoop of unseasoned, tasteless mashed avocado. People! Eggs need salt. I did warm to the house potatoes, a griddled mash with chunks of skin-on roasted potato, served in a big scoop. The multi-grain toast was also very tasty.

Don’t bother with the Sweet Potato Fries ($3.50), which were very dark, yet soggy. Apparently the oil wasn’t hot enough. A side of Chicken Apple Sausage ($3.95) was delicious, firm and well-browned on the outside, but moist and flavorful within.

There’s work to be done here, and there are enough pluses to recommend it. Next time, I want to try the Pan-Seared Oatmeal. And who knows? Maybe I’ll graduate to a sandwich.

7 am- 3 pm daily