Hi, noon: Brunch options are expanding
Brunch is no longer just for Sundays and extends beyond the traditional fare.
Brunch, once a Sunday staple, has become the meal that ate Saturday as well.
Forget long buffets in hotels and dining rooms full of dressy people. Increasingly, restaurants of all sorts serve brunch on Saturday — in gastro pubs, wine bars and sidewalk cafes.
The menus are a la carte and can still feature breakfast stuff, but the pancakes are whole grain, the eggs are cage-free and farm fresh, the bacon is doused with sriracha. There’s a wide world beyond updated traditions. Have sushi or pulled porkbelly tacos.
Bubbly still flows, but it may be craft brew, and there may well be a line, but it could be millennials in tats and tees standing outside a tiny gastropub.
Brunch fits the modern appetites of chefs and diners — eggs, bacon, biscuits, pancakes and other comforts that call out to be reinvented. Shrimp and grits and chicken and waffles are already dinner staples.
The appeal of Saturday brunch is also a new social activity: More hours to indulge and obsess about food and drink and socialize with friends hanging in Saturday sweats, not Sunday best.
Eola Wine Co.
Brunch in a gastropub, a new-old “neighborhood place” or a sleek wine bar. The Hammered Lamb features Mary’s Little Omelet with sausage, peppers and, no surprise, roast lamb. At the Strand, drinks run from mimosas to kombucha, and food offerings include snapper cakes with poached eggs and chorizo. Brunchers at Eola Wine Co. Can choose anything from lox on their bagels or a full Elvis of peanut butter and banana on a honey bagel.
Tap 42 Bar & Kitchen
On Saturdays, big crowds head to Foxy Brown and Tap 42. At Foxy, the tastes are old-school with over-the-top trim: Doughnut holes and milk, grilled banana bread with cream cheese and Nutella, raspberry and white chocolate pancakes, s’more waffles, eggs with kosher beef bologna or hanger steak. Killer choice: Short ribs Benedict with chimichurri hollandaise. Tap 42 twists traditional brunch items like a hangover sandwich with turkey sausage, scrambled eggs and maple hollandaise or green eggs and ham benedict with salsa verde. And it veers far away into gastro grub — Asian slaw and calamari, fish ’n’ chips and quinoa salads.
Jonathan Insetta was a Saturday brunch leader first at Orsay, his in-town French bistro, and now at farm-to-table Black Sheep. Orsay can start brunch with deviled eggs, from $1 to $10 apiece (for caviar and Champagne), house charcuterie, pastries and raw bar to lobster omelets and on to non-egg entrees of beef stroganoff and moulesfrites. Brunch at Black Sheep is both more rustic and international. There’s truffled egg sandwiches, pastrami hash and cardamom pancakes as well unbreakfast meals of duck banh mi, which calls for a “beermosa’’ of Cigar City white ale and fresh-squeezed orange juice.
Munch on Bulla Gastrobar’s flatbreads with oxtail or quail eggs, coachella hash or blueberry ricotta pancakes. Or brunch in a sleek corner of modern Japan at Zuma downtown with sushi, robata and a rice hot pot. For full gastopub brunching, check out Batch’s seasonal fritters, pulled pork and eggs sunnyside up or a wine omelet (bacon chorizo and two kinds of salami). Too eggy? Go for prime brisket or gnocchi mac and cheese.
Social on First
Cafe & Bar
Social on First’s Saturday brunch offers breakfast salads, crepes, scrambled eggs with burrata eggs, bacon and asparagus on croissant as well as pizza (egg, potatoes, bacon and fontina). Libby’s Cafe & Bar added Saturday brunch with small plates of Middle Eastern mezze and goes on to the innovative likes of cinnamon dim sum with sausage and eggs, hangtown fry and carrot and egg Wellington. For Saturday market-goers, City Grille has salmon frittata and house muffins.
At St. Petersburg’s Saturday morning market, Red Mesa offers a full Mexican brunch menu of cazuelas, chilaquiles, motulenas and more. On Beach Drive, Parkshore Grill sets out crabcake Benedict, blintzes and omelets. Tampa’s brunch belt stretches from kale-goat cheese scramble and gingerbread pancakes at Oxford Exchange to boudin balls at Roux. In between, Daily Eats has crunchy French toast and turkey hash Benedict; Pinky’s serves breakfast Cubans; and Datz offers sriracha egg sandwiches and pumpkin pancakes with root beer syrup.