Posts tagged ‘brunch’
Though I am a big fan of the Bristol’s Happy Hour in the Power & Light District, I had never been to the Sunday brunch buffet there. It’s quite a spread. Tables are arranged throughout the restaurant to avoid overcrowding–one is for cold food, two for hot, and one for dessert. Those wanting a waffle can place an order through the server.
The cold food table was my favorite. Flash seared tuna, seaweed salad, tuna sushi rolls, smoked salmon, scallops, and cold shrimp lined one end. Multiple vegetable salads rounded out the options. Large bowls of wasabi and ginger, sour cream,horseradish and cocktail sauce complemented the raw bar.
There was a hot table for carved tenderloin, cooked perfectly and grilled with a very smoky crust, and made-to-order omelets. The other hot table was less successful. Mushy jambalaya, dry shrimp enchiladas (made with crepes, not tortillas), and overcooked brussel sprouts, along with the standard eggs, bacon and sausage.
Dessert helped make up for that gap in quality, with squares of the Bristol’s famous carrot cake, an assortment of cookies and a lemon meringue tart.
Glancing around the dining rooms, it was clear that many customers intended to make this their dinner, too, piling up their plates and making multiple trips to the buffet tables. Even if you intend to eat another meal later in the day, at $21 a head, this is a good deal.
I made that call and was rewarded for my efforts with an 11:30 am Sunday reservation (Saturday brunch is also served).
The historic inn in which the restaurant is housed is lovely. We had to meander through the small, quaint rooms to find our way to the back where the restaurant sits.
We announced ourselves to the hostess about 30 minutes early and assumed we’d have to wait for an open table. We heard her tell a person at the other end of the phone that they could come in without a reservation, but that it would probably be 2-3 hours before she could be seated.
Surprisingly, they asked if wanted to sit down, and we walked into a relatively empty dining room. But in the next half hour it filled and stayed that way during our visit.
I had read that the Tabard Inn kitchen makes its own doughnuts and that they could be order singly or by the half-dozen. Since the server had just set down a basket of homemade muffins and breads, we decided to just order one to split.
Smart move. These were full-sized, not little donut holes; rolled in cinnamon sugar and served with vanilla whipped cream. I’m not generally a big doughnut fan, but these were light and served warm, what’s not to like?
My son ordered steak and poached eggs with chimichurri sauce, and while I was tempted by the seafood gumbo, when the server told me its heft might require me to take a nap afterward, I opted for the huevos rancheros. Though the green and red salsas lacked a kick, they nicely complemented the black bean puree, avocado and perfectly cooked fried eggs that smothered the tortillas.
The menu features an large number of both breakfast and lunch items, and I would have been happy with any number of them. And the tavern-like ambiance is just as much of a draw.
As we left, the living rooms were filled with people waiting, some chatting while sipping drinks, and others reading the newspaper to pass the time. I was tempted to assure them that it would be worth their while to stick around.
While sipping a Bloody Mary, the server brought out the cutest, most delicious little peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, courtesy of the chef. My son and his girlfriend were frequent visitors to the restaurant, so they knew to order the freshly baked cinnamon buns with cider caramel and vanilla icing. Wow. Nothing like starting with dessert. It was hard to restrain myself from eating the whole thing, but I knew I needed to save up for the lobster eggs Benedict that were coming my way. I had heard about this dish, called “Traitor’s Eggs” and was told that if it was on the menu I had to order it.
It’s Maine, so how could I not order lobster in any form? This was an easy sell.
Sadly, my son has left Maine so I probably won’t make it back to Portland in the foreseeable future. I’ll miss it. Not only is the scenery spectacular, but I’ve had some incredible meals there. This was one of them.