Yeah, I have to say that I wasn’t expecting all that much from “Brunch”. I’m not sure why. It just seemed kinda cheesy, I guess. But after I unexpectedly found myself here one Sunday morning, I left with a certain satisfaction. It’s not like any of it was totally out of this world, it just, somehow, hit the spot.
Let’s start with the menu, shall we? Much more impressive than anticipated! I think that was the first thing to make me sit up and take notice. It’s not wildly interesting but they’ve done a great job of reworking classics. This is a great way to appeal to a large audience. It’s not so weird that the people who want the “usual” are put off, yet it’s not too run-of-the-mill for those who are easily bored with the norm.
There’s an entire page of breakfast items, savory & sweet, composed & build-your-own, plus and entire page of lunch items like soups, salads and sandwiches. I think they’ve done a good job of calling it what it is. Simply: Brunch.
We were actually headed to Yolk when we detoured. I’ve been to Yolk a couple of times and think it, too, is good (not incredible). The reason we veered from our path is that I had cappuccino on the brain and mid-route we remembered that Yolk only serves regular coffee. Lame. That’s when I remembered having recently passed by Brunch. It was on our current path and seemed like the right thing to do.
Here’s what I ordered immediately upon arrival:
We both noted how cute the enormous variety of random mugs was. I can only speculate on where they all came from and the lives and coffee they held before arriving at Brunch. Mine was from UC Berkeley. I wonder who was reading the morning paper as they sipped from it. A professor? A grad student? A proud parent? And more importantly, had that person ever dined at Chez Panisse? (Oh, the capuccio wasn’t bad even though I had to explain that by “double cappuccino” I meant 2 shots of espresso, not 2 separate cappuccini. Weird, right?)
Upon ordering, my sweet-tooth possessing companion threw in an order of the pancake sampler. I’ve never been much of a pancake girl myself, so they kinda just tasted like pancakes to me. One bite was enough. I’ve never quite understood the whole ‘red velvet cake’ thing, either. You can’t even taste cake through the chemical flavor of red food coloring. Ick. For this reason, I was unimpressed with a pancake batter that contained red food coloring and, therefore, bore the ‘red velvet’ name. Also ick. The banana and buttermilk were much more acceptable flavors, as far as I was concerned.
The real winner was the biscuits & gravy. Fabulous. The biscuits were flakey and buttery and the gravy was crazy flavorful (probably due to an excessive addition of butter, which I’ve become even more acutely aware of since becoming an instructor at a French culinary school. No shortage of butter there!) Of course it was made with breakfast sausage but, surprisingly, also sprinkled with fresh herbs and drizzled with herb oil. Sausage, butter and oil?! Hey, I didn’t say it was healthy, I just said it tasted good.
I opted for a skillet containing ingredients that I would not normally, like in a hundred years, order. I dunno. I got a wild hair. Sausage and cheddar cheese were the new additions to my usual spinach, mushrooms and poached eggs. The seasoning was off, though I appreciate the fact that if it’s going to be one way or the other, it should be under seasoned in order to allow me to add my own salt rather than over, in which case there’s nothin’ you can do about it but complain. The eggs were perfectly poached and, like I said, in the end I was completely satisfied.
Did you want to take a closer look at those biscuits? I thought you would! Check those beauties out!
I guess I should note that the service was a little weird. There seemed to be a lot of staff yet no help. The table next to ours had to flag someone down every time they needed anything. I watched it happen at least 4 times. Our gal was a bit on the odd side, too. I was almost as if we were burdening her to fill our coffee so we didn’t dare ask for a fork when our food arrived but instead got up to track one down ourselves… which seemed to take more effort than it should have.
The space was nice and open. Definitely more contrived than a regular ol’ breakfast joint, but not in anyway fancy.
So… In short (out of 10):
Overall impression: 7
Would I go back?
Yeah, I think I would. I got no problem salting my own eggs…