Sunday, December 16, 2012
in restaurant, market, southern, gay village, trendy, <$40
Lately we've been complaining about how the brunch scene was getting really boring. Everybody's charging you $15-$20 for some combination of eggs, potatoes, bland fruit and toast. Been there, done that! When we heard that chef Nick Hodge was doing a special, pre-holiday, Texas-style brunch at Kitchenette, we didn't think twice about being part of this experience.
We showed up for the 12:30 service to find the restaurant packed, a first for us here. There was a festive and jovial "holiday" atmosphere, as we spotted several families with kids, including Hodge's own wife, daughter and other industry friends, such as Auguste's Danny St-Pierre.
The $38 holiday brunch menu consisted of seven courses of Texan/Southern specialties, right down chef Hodge's alley. We are not fans of the term "food coma" and find that people use it too frivolously, but if ever we were to use it, today would be the perfect occasion. If you decide on attending next year's edition, make sure your afternoon is clear for a long nap.
Southern Breads with Preserves & Pimento Cheese
A trio of homemade preserves consisted of clementine-chilli, pear butter and quince jelly. We devoured the former, which had good citrus flavour and a nice kick. The cornbread and biscuits provided a good medium to enjoy the preserves and cheese.
Sopapillas, Crispy Chicken Skin, Spiced Honey & Truffles
The sopapillas (little fried pastry triangles) were sweet and crunchy, which worked well with the sticky crispy chicken skins. We didn't really get a lot of truffle taste, possibly due to the dominant frying oil flavour.
The only good thing about this dish was that it makes you very eager to get to your next course. A bowl of citrus fruit, some grapes and a few pieces of meringue mixed in crème fraîche and topped with liquorice "pickled" cherry. Total miss!
Shrimp & Grits
Four large shrimps and two pieces of pork belly sitting on a mound of grits with a red pepper-tomato sauce. The shrimp was well cooked, the pork buttery and the grits not too smooth (a good thing), but the sauce lacked a certain picker upper since everything felt too heavy.
This is one of the best huevos rancheros we've had in town. The flavours from the tomato-chilli sauce and refried beans were amazing. Spoon some of that mixture on top of the accompanying soft tortilla and enjoy with a bite of the crispy hash brown.
Smoked Sirloin & Chilaquiles
Perfectly pink smoky beef brightened up by green salsa and queso fresco sitting on crispy tortillas. This dish was a feast for all senses; it looked good, the mesquite smelled awesome, the tortilla crunch was audible, and boy was the taste great.
Buche de Noël
The cake itself was a little on the dry side but the cream and icing saved it. Good standard issue yule log, goes with the Christmas spirit, even if it's not really southern.
tagged loosen your belt, tasting menu
We always felt the service could use some improvement at Kitchenette (see our previous review). Today, sadly, was no exception. Long wait times, missing utensils, chipped plates... However, the staff is super friendly and will not spare an effort to please you.
Today's brunch certainly attests to the saying "everything is bigger in Texas". Great Southern classics with minor additions/twists will not disappoint you. Try not to miss it next year; it'll be a refreshing change from your weekly eggs and pastries brunch. It's definitely a lot of food, but it's the holidays. So go ahead and enjoy!
Price per person: $38