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DTW O'Mara's Restaurant starts breakfast Monday

O'Mara's in Berkley debuts a morning breakfast menu as of Monday. Berkleygary and I were part of a pre-opening tasting today focusing on their pancake and waffle items, crepes (sweet and savory), French toast, morning cocktails and sausage.

Bottom line --- some real standouts that we'd go back for again in a minute. The wild mushroom/spinach/fontina crepes were among the best items I've had for breakfast in Detroit -- on a par with top hotels, breakfast spots. Big thrill were the morels included in the savory sauce--not overly rich but deeply flavorful.

Apple/pecan waffles were also great. I'm not a great sweet person in the a.m., never eat pancakes, etc., but these were an exception. Cripsy and tender waffle, terrific apple compote with cinnamon a nuts not at all sweet.

Strawberry/creamcheese stuffed French toast also delicious. Again, not overly sweet with a deep berry flavor and not gorped up with too much cream cheese.

Homemade pork and turkey sausage has great spice and texture--at the tasting they could have been browner but that'll be fixed.

Not big breakfast/brunch cocktail folks but the mimosa was outstanding--fresh OJ with pulp and just the right amount of bubbly. Salty Dog features fresh squeezed grapefruit juice (when's the last time you had that out?) which made is pulpy and fruity and just delicious. Home made Sangria is pretty complex flavored, not overly sweet. All served really fresh and really cold.

Overall we were really impressed. I'd certainly go there and actually pay for a meal...they're smoking their own salmon in-house, making their own preserves and really scaling up the food. Also good for corporate/business meetings-- nice venue change.

If you go, post and let us know how the chow is.

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  1. Wow, thanks for the detailed tip, BB. I was sold a third of the way thru. Will report back, and hopefully as admiringly as were you.

    1 Reply
    1. re: VTB

      I'll look forward to your impression VTB.

    2. Sounds tasty! I wish they'd update their website, though, as it shows no breakfast menu.

      7 Replies
        1. re: berkleybabe

          berkleybabe, while on the topic of breakfast, have you heard anything about the Berkley Bistro on Coolidge...it seems their food has gone downhill since they opened. Just wondering what's up with it.

          1. re: coney with everything

            Coney, this is a place (blush) I haven't been to yet so can't help you there...sorry.

            1. re: berkleybabe

              I am not a frequent visitor to the Berkley Bistro, but what I am hearing is that the food and service have indeed gone downhill (a friend of a friend had syrup dumped on her and while the waiter was apologetic, managment was not). I think there is new ownership.

            2. re: coney with everything

              Coney: Rainsux and I were there within the last three months, and we were unimpressed. His ribs were quite disappointing, and my food was decent. Service was *lousy*, and we both concluded that it was a place we never needed to go back to. Take that for whatever you think it's worth.

              1. re: coney with everything

                CWE, BLEH..that is how I would describe Berkley Bistro! There was a thread a while back that had nearly a unanimous decision that the place was not good. I know Chef Tom (Dining In The D fame) left the restaurant early in the summer. I highly doubt the food has improved with his departure. I believe the owner is the same. I definitely think it was more of an ownership vision problems vs. the chef..at least that is what I've heard.

                1. re: Jack Freeman

                  Thanks, everyone, it's pretty much what I'd heard. It's been a while since I ate there and it was good, but online reviews have seemed to go steadily downhill

                  Plus my kid was job hunting earlier this summer and it seems they were posting for jobs about every 6 weeks...restaurants have high turnover but that's a red flag, IMO.

                  Berkleybabe, sounds like you needn't be embarrassed :)

          2. Look forward to trying it! Thanks for the tip, BB!

            1. Quick clarification question, before I take the plunge. Goalie Jeff says he really likes this place's lunches and dinners, but that the weekend brunch is lame. Subsequent to him posting that, you (BB) posted that the new breakfasts are good. I usually only go out to breakfast on weekends. On a Saturday morning, am I now likely to get a good BB savory crepe, or still a lame GJ brunch? (granted, things can change---GJ's post is old, and the breakfasts are new, but I don't know whether the new breakfast thing runs thru and replaces the old weekend brunch thing). Just askin'...maybe I should stop fretting and just get over there next weekend. Cheers

              2 Replies
              1. re: VTB

                VTB, no more weekend brunch -- it's replaced by the full breakfast menu. We thought the mushroom/spinach/fontina crepe was the standout on the parts of the menu we tasted. Also, fresh squeezed OJ and grapefruit juice (also great in a mimosa and a Salty Dog.) I'll be interested in your take on it.

                1. re: berkleybabe

                  That's the answer I was hopin' for. :-)

              2. Just back from breakfast at O'Mara's ... I am thoroughly gruntled.

                I arrived a few minutes before their 8AM opening - so it seems that they are not
                seeking the before-work salary man crowd.

                On a whim, I decided to enter at 7:55; just to see what reception I'd receive. They
                noticed me immediately, welcomed me and I was seated immediately, without
                fuss. They also noticed that I had reading material and commented that, "this
                table has better light for reading." Indeed it did. The service was prompt, attentive
                and unobtrusive.

                My pick for breakfast was their Irish Farmers Omelette. It mentioned corned beef,
                a few veggies and gouda. The omelette was perfectly done. The veggies seemed
                to be fresh, not defrosted. I would've appreciated a bit more (maybe 1/3rd more)
                corned beef. I liked the light-hand with the shredded gouda - just the right amount
                for my palate. Overall: Eggelent with another gold star for BIG flavors.

                The omelette includes (only) toast. I ordered dry multi-grain. I always annunciate
                the "dry" aspect. I'm amazed at how many times the "dry" is forgotten - probably 2/3rds
                of the time. For me, it's become a test of sorts. Is the server paying attention??? O'Mara's
                got the toast right the first time. Thank you. There was a selection of house-made jams.
                I don't eat jam or jelly; so, no comment.

                Potatoes are a $ide order. I opt'd for redskins, not shredded. They came on their own
                small platter. The onions were perfectly carmelized. I believe I tasted a touch of fennel.
                They were perfectly browned and seasoned. The serving side is plenty for two.

                The coffee was Kona coffee, not the usual breakfast swill. Nor the over-roasted stuff
                from Charbucks.

                I'll put the breakfast quality on-par with Frittata, for probably a few less dollars. I was out
                the door for $16 (incl a 20% tip). Many breakfast places will do it cheaper. For my money,
                few places with match or exceed their omelette. O'Mara's will definitely be taking a spot
                in our Sunday morning breakfast ritual.

                Their WiFi/internet service was also very good.

                3 Replies
                1. re: rainsux

                  Thanks for the rich descriptions RS. I gotta try this place, like BB says.
                  (Hope Donna can resuscitate Boagman after he reads the "$16 for weekday breakfast" bit.)

                  1. re: VTB

                    Yabbut, I'm not proposing this for a routine weekday breakfast. I'm
                    pretty certain they are not intending to compete with Ram's Horn, Monty's,
                    Kerby's, Senate, etc. From a ingredients/flavor perspective, they are
                    competing with breakfasts at Frittata, Fly Trap and Chocolate Gallery.
                    A bit more expensive that Fly Trap. A bit less expensive than Frittata.

                    The small platter of sliced redskins ($3?) is sufficient for two.

                    The Kona coffee is good, but it is also $2.50 ... I'll skip it next time.

                  2. re: rainsux

                    Nice! Good review, thanks rs. Now they've got to get the menu on their web page!

                  3. Sunday breakfast with my bride ...

                    Sparsely populated @ 9AM. No newspaper box outside, so glad we stopped along the way
                    for the Sunday fish wrap. Waiter didn't notice the reading material. Sat us at a table with less
                    than ideal lighting, for reading.

                    The veggie omelette was very good. The corned beef hash was excellent. But again; I'd like
                    ~1/3rd more corned beef, in the corned beef ash. The hash serving was adequate for two to
                    enjoy. The OJ was fresh squeezed; excellent. The english muffin and toast were fine -
                    delivered dry, as ordered.

                    The dud was my bride's salmon omelette. I expect salmon to be a light & distinct flavor. This was an over-powering salmon/seasoning combo. She ate ~1/3rd and stopped.. I tried one
                    bite; not for me..

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: rainsux

                      Thanks, RS. When we did tasting we sampled the salmon omelette, have to agree the salmon was overpowering. On its own as an appetizer would be good, but a bit too strong for delicate eggs.
                      Glad to know the corned beef is good.. one of my faves for breakfast.

                      1. re: berkleybabe

                        I finally made it to O’Mara’s, thanks to berkleybabe’s tip (note: I’m feeling kind of guilty I didn’t spontaneously invite myself to join—read FREEZE—berkleygary for Occupy Detroit). The wild mushroom crepe was quite tasty. I’d give the edge to R.O.’s What Crepe?, but O’Mara’s also was good and surprisingly huge. The kids plate was a great value at $3.50. A big pancake, two big sausage links, a small garnish of fresh berries, along with a glass of reconstituted orange juice. They TRIED to sneakily up-sell my 5y.o. to fresh squeezed, which would have doubled the price of his entire meal, but no dice…sure call me cheap and nutritionally short sighted, but those fresh oranges flew thousands of miles, too.

                        Had the O’Mara’s option been around before I was married, I’d probably have enjoyed brunch there every other weekend. The atmosphere is nice and comfortable, and it is not necessary to incur the indignity of standing in line (sometimes outside!) or jockeying for a parking space. I’d have dragged myself in at half past noon, taken a seat at the welcoming bar in front of the numerous TVs, caught the sports pregame show and the first half of a game, and enjoyed a yummy “breakfast” perhaps with a bloody mary. Or two.

                        PS---Approaching O’Mara’s (which is on Coolidge) from the north is to run a gauntlet of speed traps. Be forewarned. Also, did anyone see the flier for O’Mara’s planned Thanksgiving Day buffet spread? It looks darn good, on paper. Over-the-top.

                        PPS---Speaking of R.O.’s What Crepe? Restaurant and of waiting in line (I hate their hours, too), What Crepe? is opening an additional place in Birmingham (Old Woodward, north of Maple; hrs=?), so maybe it will be easier to get a seat (with elbow room as well).

                        1. re: VTB

                          We did the O'Mara's Easter brunch one year and I have to say that our large party was quite satisfied with the food and service. I'm with you on the OJ...kids can't tell the diff, why pay for it?

                          Berkley is a speed trap in general--also watch on 12 Mile east of Coolidge, they like to hang out in the various parking lots.

                          Cops have nothing better to do, which is one thing I REALLY like about Berkley. When we lived in Detroit on the other hand...