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Disappointing Aquitaine Brunch

n
Northshoregirl Sep 18, 2006 07:21 PM

Two of us had brunch on Sunday in the South End. My companion had brioche french toast with blueberries, which was crunchy and good, but not to-die-for, and with hardly any blueberries. My eggs benedict was disappointing. It was fine, but the sauce was bland, it was warm rather than hot, and served with only a few potatoes. Since they probably cost a few cents each, they could have thrown another scoop on. The service was fine, but certainly not attentive or friendly. I would not go back.

  1. t
    tamerlanenj Sep 18, 2006 07:27 PM

    Not a question for you specifically but rather for the board...is there even such a thing as fantastic brunch? It's breakfast! it's eggs and pancakes and french toast. I almost never waste money on brunch, because I rarely get anything exceptional--or even better than my own breakfast or Denny's for that matter--and I get really irritated at being charged $11 for french toast or a bagel and lox.

    I think the time that finally did it for and brunch was a pathetic experience at Tavern on the Green in Central Park. I think they were charging $10 for oatmeal, and the mediocre Eggs Benedict came with NOTHING, no potatoes, nada.

    8 Replies
    1. re: tamerlanenj
      a
      autopi Sep 19, 2006 12:19 AM

      in response to tamerlanej, have you tried centre street cafe? they do a nice breakfast-brunch-whatever-it's-called. and, yeah, there are definitely varying degrees of quality/technique/inventiveness and so forth for breakfasts. compare the eggs at centre st cafe with the eggs at sorella's for instance. the prices on some breakfast things really are quite high, oatmeal and crepes being prime examples. but if you can get, say, eggs benedict w/some sides for $11, i think that's not a bad deal.

      i basically used to feel the same way as you, but there are in fact very very good quiches, omelettes, scones, muffins, even something as simple as roasted potatoes can be ho-hum are really extraordinary. fancy bacon, sausages, fresh-squeezed oj, decent coffee, etc--it can add up to a really nice experience. my girlfriend is the queen of brunch, and her brunches converted me--every weekend a brunch that pretty much blows the socks off of 95% of what's out there, yum yum yum.

      1. re: tamerlanenj
        b
        bella_sarda Sep 19, 2006 01:58 AM

        I think there *is* such a thing as fantastic brunch. The first point is that it's not just breakfast (and, by the way, who says breakfast can't be fantastic? maybe you need to find some better eggs/french toast, etc. than what you've been eating---you really can either screw these items up or make them sing). The trick is to be creative while still making food that is hangover-friendly and not so daunting that you can't make it through the rest of the day. This past Sunday I had brunch at East Coast Grill for the first time (thanks to the 'hounds who recommended it) and it was great. There were some excellent fish cakes, and an amazing duck torta rellena. Totally not standard-issue brunch, but sides like yuca fries and maduros gave a comfort-food edge to the intensely flavored main courses. This one could change your mind about brunch. The bellini was a nice touch too.

        1. re: bella_sarda
          t
          tamerlanenj Sep 19, 2006 12:12 PM

          French toast, maybe. But eggs are eggs are eggs.

          Paying $11 for poached eggs, ham, an english muffin, and a dribble of hollandaise is beyond laughable.

          1. re: tamerlanenj
            Alcachofa Sep 19, 2006 01:37 PM

            You've never had truly good hollandaise, then. Sadly, in Boston, I haven't either. But I haven't looked that hard either.

            1. re: tamerlanenj
              tatamagouche Sep 19, 2006 01:46 PM

              How are eggs eggs eggs? There are all kinds of ways to prepare them--frittatas, omelettes...and even by themselves, well, sure, they're a humble ingredient, but why object to them for breakfast any more than any other basic ingredient for any other meal--chicken or what have you. Overcharging for dishes containing cheap ingredients is hardly specific to brunch.

          2. re: tamerlanenj
            coookie Sep 19, 2006 04:23 AM

            the late, great perdix had (imho) a unique and memorable blunch. the menu included a fried egg sandwich on a portuguese roll with meat, avocado, cheese, and spicy tomato relish and awesome rotating french toasts.

            you can mourn the menu here:

            http://www.perdixrestaurant.com/blunc...

            1. re: coookie
              lissy Sep 19, 2006 03:18 PM

              I loved that egg sandwich at Perdix!

            2. re: tamerlanenj
              n
              NoShoGrl Sep 20, 2006 01:09 AM

              the Blue Room has a great brunch - well they used to, i haven't been for years, but i always felt that it was worth the pricey bill.

            3. l
              lisa13 Sep 18, 2006 07:43 PM

              I have had similar experiences there as well. Food is not *that* good, service is...eh...and it's really loud. Last time they charged me for spoiled grapefruit juice that had to go back - I won't do it again.

              Next time try Metropolis Cafe, right accross the street. Nice staff, fun atmosphere and great food!

              1. Cupcakes Sep 18, 2006 08:24 PM

                which is owned by the same restaurant group. you'd think if they could get it down at one place they'd be able to at both.

                1. m
                  MasalaWala Sep 18, 2006 08:51 PM

                  Never had brunch at Aquitaine, but we really enjoyed our dinner there a year or so ago. Has the dinner gone done hill as well? Any recent experiences?

                  1. trufflehound Sep 19, 2006 12:26 AM

                    If the hollandaise was served hot rather than warm, it would be melted butter with scrambled eggs.

                    1. MC Slim JB Sep 19, 2006 02:17 PM

                      Try making The Best Recipe version of scrambled eggs (long form) sometime if you believe that "eggs are eggs". It takes half an hour, but the result is akin to foie gras for luxuriousness -- they are exquisite.

                      I agree as a rule that brunches are mostly ho-hum, but I'm always on the lookout for extraordinary versions of specific dishes like johnnycakes (I can't find good thin-type ones since the Commons Lunch in Little Compton burnt down), hash browns, home fries, corned-beef (and other kinds of) hash, and so on. Predictably, my favorites tend to be expensive (hash at Locke-Ober, hash browns at the old Ritz, etc.)

                      Since it's Sunday and a rare excuse to have a pop before noon, good eye-openers are another distinguisher. So I look for fresh juice drinks (like the Greyhound at Union), great Bloodies (Tremont 647, East Coast Grill), and good sparkler-based drinks (e.g., Bellinis at 28 Degrees).

                      Aside from these, some of my favorites include Centre St Cafe (though lines can be a pain), Doyle's (as much for atmosphere as food), Deluxe Town Diner (for thick-style johnnycakes and other griddle items), The B-Side (for its till-4pm service, solid combo of lunch and brunch stuff, and great eye-openers), Blue Room (a rare non-Indian buffet good enough to break my no-buffets rule), and Sel de la Terre (elegant, sunny, with great lunch and brunch stuff).

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: MC Slim JB
                        t
                        twentyoystahs Sep 20, 2006 08:02 PM

                        "the best recipe version of scrambled eggs(long form)..."
                        Is this when you cook the eggs at a very low heat, very slowly? I've never tried but read about this.

                        I agree on all your recs, I have always enjoyed Doyles for brunch. I'm not typically a pancake fan, but theirs are enough to convert me. Crispy on the outside, filled w a combo of strawberries, blueberries and bananas, really freakin good. I have had eggs benedict there that was good too. Plus there's no better place in Boston to grab a bloody mary, mmmmmm.

                        1. re: twentyoystahs
                          Joanie Sep 20, 2006 08:12 PM

                          Too bad Doyles home fries really suck.

                      2. opinionatedchef Sep 20, 2006 07:25 PM

                        mcslimjb,
                        thanks for those excellent suggestions. (i personally have had exc exper's at aquitaine- the duck sandwich in particular) I will look forw to trying some of your favs.

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