Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Great Brunch Quest .02 | Barbette

And so the great brunch adventures continues. Next up on the list: Barbette.

I had been to Barbette once before on a really awful first date. So I think that is what deterred me from going back again ... bad memories.

Location - 5/5
It doesn't get much better than this. Located right in bustling and fun Uptown area and only 2 blocks from Lake Calhoun - perfect. Great place to have brunch and then plan a nice walk and some shopping around Uptown, or head over to the Lake for a walk around the path. Really, a great location. 
Atmosphere - 5/5
Crowded, a bit on the loud side, and a bit dark ... but I like it! It is the kind of place with a very eclectic decor - mosaics on the mirrors and pillars, different and eclectic art on the walls, burgundy vintage-looking benches, dark wood tables, etc. It is all rather vintage eclectic. And dark ... definitely darker than the light and airy feel you get at Zumbro. 
There was a wide range of customers when I was there - couples, girlfriends, friend groups, families with kids ... they were all there and all were enjoying a good time.

There was also a good amount of alcohol flowing. Unlike Zumbro which felt more like a wholesome 
breakfast place with juice and coffee, you could tell that alcohol was definitely on the menu here!

Service - 5/5
No complaints. The staff was knowledgable, quick, helpful and nice. 

Food - 4.5/5 
I continued with my eggs benedict tradition at Barbette. When I checked out the menu online before, I actually didn't see eggs benedict on the menu, so I thought was going to have to opt for something else. But, it turns out that they always have them on the menu and rotate out different variations - pretty cool!

So when I was there, they had three kinds: regular, tomato florentine (with tomato and spinach, no meat), and one that was rather German-sounding with braised pork, cabbage and mustard hollandaise. The first two were definitely intriguing ... but the third was not something that sounded to my liking.

I was torn between the first two options, but decided to go with the original eggs benedict so I could really compare to other places. I also had an unsweetened iced tea, a hot chai, and some Belgian waffles for dessert (i only ate like three bites from the waffles and took the rest home for breakfast the next day ... I couldn't resist, they just sounded really good!).
  • Eggs Benedict - Overall, these were really good. The portion was very good sized and the English Muffing was not overly large, which is good (a huge English Muffin is just a waste of calories to me). The eggs were PERFECTLY poached. I mean ... really perfect. When I tapped the top with my knife, the eggs split and oooy gooey creamy yolk perfection spilled out. Perfection!!!! There was plenty of Hollandaise sauce and it was not too salty. There was however, a lot of ham. In my opinion, too much ham. I actually left some on the plate. But, it wasn't a problem at all, and it wasn't salty either, which I always appreciated. Seriously though, once I cut into the eggs and the creamy yolk mixed with the Hollandaise and I was able to mop it up with the muffin ... heaven!!! The salad was fine, but nothing special. I actually didn't like the dressing as it was bitter to me. I would replace the greens with hash-browns next time. 
  • Iced Tea - Eh ... not great. Didn't love the taste. Foggy appearance was weird. 
  • Chai Latte - I am really picky about Chai ... the only once I really like is at Starbucks. I was willing to try something new, but it wasn't great. Too spicy for me ... but maybe others would like it. 
  • Belgian Waffles - When I saw these on the menu (for only $6!!!) I was intrigued. What I liked was what it was served with ... lemon compote and blueberries. Yummy! So, I ordered it as a type of dessert knowing that I would take most of it home for breakfast the next day. It was very very good! The waffle was perfectly cooked and the lemon and blueberry was a great taste and very unique combination, and so different from typical fresh fruit and whip cream or maple syrup. Borrrrringggggg. 
They had an amazing sounding quiche that I was super tempted to try. And they had a really good champagne menu that they were serving at retail price for the holidays. Nice idea. I also would like to try dinner there as I think it would be pretty good.

Overall - 5/5
Really, besides too much ham on the eggs, I have nothing to complain about here. The location and atmosphere was great. The food I tried was delicious. And there were plenty of other items on the menu I would like to try! And it will be great in summer when there are outside tables and I can walk the Lake after brunch. 

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