Brunch re-imagined as a serious meal.
When was the last time you had a great meal at a restaurant with a view, or in a picturesque location?
I would have said the same thing until we had the best brunch ever at a restaurant with a beautiful view.
It was a risky pick, for part of our monthly brunch group is made up of chef instructors from the CIA.
We’d been there before and while the view of the falls was lovely, the food generally wasn’t.
But…there’s a new executive chef there. Terrance Brennan from Artisanal and other restaurants in the city.
It seemed worth a shot.
And it was.
It really was!
Brunch is often the ugly step-sister of restaurants and if that was the case at the Roundhouse, OMG, I can’t wait to try dinner! As a matter of fact, we were almost tempted to linger at our table until dinner.
But we behaved (and will go back).
Our group on this Sunday was tiny. Everyone bailed and we were just a threesome. They’ll be sorry.
We decided to go with the prix fixe brunch—three courses at $28.
There were lots of interesting choices on both sides (prix fixe or a la carte) of the menu. Two of us decided on the cucumber “gazpacho” to start and Frank went with the “sausage and eggs”.
A ladle of pale green gazpacho was poured over a nice-sized mound of peekytoe crab salad. It was cool and delicious, with the sweetness of the crab offsetting the slightly spiced cucumber “gazpacho.” Pickled stems, very thinly sliced croutons and dill made this a dish to remember.
It was something that was repeated throughout the meal—a contrast of tastes and textures, enhancing and elevating even the most common brunch dishes.
I’m not generally a runny egg person, so I picked around Frank’s 65° egg (perfectly poached) and went for the sausage—a nice house-made chorizo and the shards of toast. All good.
For a main course, Frank went with more eggs, this time eggs Benedict, served with a thick slab of pork belly on a slice of their sourdough bread. It was about as perfect a Hollandaise sauce as I’ve ever had in a restaurant!
I had the Vietnamese rice bowl, a mélange of grilled chicken thighs with baby bok choy, shitake mushrooms, cilantro and Thai basil served in a bowl of jasmine rice with a slightly spicy sauce. Delicious and just what I felt like eating!
Lynne had the brioche French toast with roasted honeycrisp apples, maple syrup and a delicious blob of what turned out to be cinnamon-maple crème frâiche . Even Frank, not generally a French toast guy, thought it was great!
Believe it or not, we managed to find room for dessert.
Frank had the apple gateau, which was made of at least twenty thin slices of apples cooked together and formed into a slab. With it was an amazing whey caramel ice cream and a walnut crumble for crunch.
Since he had the apple, I went for the lemon diplomat. Two thin disks of cookie held a lemon puree. Three meringue dots added some sweetness, while candied bits of black olives and a basil oil added a savory contrast. A lovely mix of savory and sweet, tartness and texture.
Lynne opted for vanilla ice cream, creamy and resting on a cookie disk. Definitely not plain vanilla.
The house sent over a pineapple panna cotta which may have been a special as it wasn’t on any of the menus we saw. Thin ribbons of pineapple (note to self, next time serving pineapple, hit it with a peeler) mixed with the panna cotta, some pomegranate and a cookie crunch. A great surprise were three leaves of cilantro that had been candied—a lovely touch.
While all the food was just amazing and we lingered, not wanting it to end, the service was terrific. Our server, Sarah, had answers to all our questions and made great recommendations. Kate, the manager, filled us in on why the servers were so knowledgeable—her sixty-one-point menu questionnaire!
Oh, and yes, the view is still spectacular, but this time not as spectacular as the food.
We can’t wait to go back!