The gf and I went to Lamberts yesterday for brunch and, overall, it was a pretty
The brunch runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and includes a number of buffet
choices as well as 5-6 items that can be ordered freshly prepared from
the menu. The cost is $22/person. And if you're so inclined, they have
some brunch cocktails available additionally. I opted for the
bottomless mimosa at $8.
We arrived shortly after 11 and were immediately seated. Our server
brought out a plate of pastries that included croissants,
scones and cornbread muffins, of which I believe the cornbread was made inhouse, but the scones looked and tasted remarkably similar to those that I've purchased at Whole Foods.
After taking a look at the menu, we decided to order the eggs benedict and brioche french toast, then headed over to the buffet.
On the line there were jicama and potato salads, as well as mixed fresh fruit. The jicama was nice; a fresh juliennes with a light ranch-style dressing. I passed on the potato salad (which looked delicious) and the fruit (which was a version that looked common to breakfast buffets with cantaloupe, melon, grapes, etc.) A server behind the counter offered apple smoked bacon (perfectly prepared and salty/sweet), sausage patties (passed) and poblano cheese grits (cheesy and delicious if a little less firm than I care for). The buffet smoked salmon was near perfect and reminded me of the fatty salmon collar that is occasionally served up at Uchi, and was accompanied by a dill cream and capers. The frittatas were a bit cold and dry; I perhaps should have waited until a fresh batch came out. There was a selection of biscuits and bread, which I passed on, and at the end of the line was the bbq, which during our brunch seemed only to include ribs and brisket. The ribs had an excellent coriander and cinnamon rub, but they were rather dry and tough, as if they'd spent too much time under/in a warmer waiting for service. The brisket, on the other hand, was excellent; tender juicy cuts with a nicely charred exterior. For this you could use one of Lamberts' three bbq sauces-a mustard based, their regular sweet version or a tabasco laden version that has a fair bit of kick-or the horseradish cream that was made specifically for the brunch; all were well-rounded and delicious.
After working our way through the first round of buffet items, our french toast and benedict arrived. I've taken to comparing all benedicts to the Eastside salmon version because, for my money, it's the best; the eggs benedict at Lamberts was good, but did not rise to my exceedingly high expectations. The muffin was a bit scorched, and the ham was cut thinner than I would've liked, and the hollandaise was a bit thin in terms of portion, though the egg was nicely poached. I decided after having this to order Lamberts Hangar Steak Benedict for a comparison, and here is where I found the benedict version most likely to knock the Eastside version from its perch. Again, the muffin was over-toasted a bit and the egg was perfect, but in this case, the thin portion of hollandaise was a good thing because the seared kobe steak (about 2 oz) was so tender (melt in your mouth) and tasteful, a greater portion would have taken away from its taste and from my enjoyment. This benedict is one I'll think of often. The brioche french toast was equally outstanding consisting of a large toasted spongy and sweet section of a brioche loaf set in a small pool of maple syrup with a dab of peach (?) compote atop and sprinkled with powdered sugar. Had I not been so full at the finish, I'd have probably ordered another for dessert.
We never made it to the dessert table, though they offered delicious looking red velvet, chocolate and coconut cakes.
On our way home, we started trying to establish where the Lamberts brunch fits into our own hierarchy, and, for my part, this is what I came up with. Fonda San Miguel: easily the best food, also easily the most overpriced (I was fine with the $30 and $36/person costs, but at $42, I can't really justify it any more except on very special occasions; the extra $6 has become a principle thing)-a "9" overall. Eastside: excellent brunch with a more limited selection, but reasonable price-"9". Lamberts: as this one matures, I hope to see them hone it just a bit; with the hangar benedict, brioche french toast and broad selection, and the reasonable price, Lamberts is about to create a three-way tie-"8" overall.
We were pretty impressed when we went. The barbecue is hit and miss so be sure to go back there frequently. Our second sample of brisket was superb. The coconut pie is great stuff. The eggs benedict with the steak were well received. Be sure to report back your experience.