This is not one of those brunches where you line up for an hour for dollar pancakes or a Grand Slam special.
Nope, this is brunch done up posh.
At the Village Pub in Woodside, its sumptuous a la carte brunch involves truffles, lobster, caviar and even a mimosa cart wheeled to your table. You will likely drop more on a Sunday morning here than you would at dinnertime at many other places.
But what a way to pamper yourself, friends and family. It is a guaranteed way to feel ultra special on a Sunday. So naturally, when I was invited in as a guest of the restaurant, how could I refuse, right?
Take a seat in a burgundy velvet plush chair at a white tablecloth-draped table. The mimosa cart will come by with your choice of Champagne and fresh-squeezed citrus juice.
I went with Gosset. Founded in 1584, it’s the oldest wine house in Champagne. The elegant sparkler was poured into a flute, then topped off with my choice of blood orange juice when it was set down in front of me. For a gal who usually sticks to straight orange juice and black coffee in the daytime, this just made everything else that came after it automatically more festive.
Tiny two-bite scones arrived next with house-made marmalade and clotted cream. Warm and fluffy, they are a delight.
You might think it overkill then to order the beignets ($14). But you won’t regret doing so. We sure didn’t, when half a dozen hot, sugar-dusted orbs arrived with more preserves and creme anglaise. Tear one in half, insert into mouth, and break into a wide smile like a kid.
Even a dish of Market Fruits with Marcona Almonds ($13) turns special here with its range of colors, shapes and textures. There are wheels of blood orange and naval orange, slices of strawberries, rounds of kiwi, and crisp sticks of sweet-tart apples. Flower petals dot the top of it all.
Butter-Poached Maine Lobster Benedict ($45) brings perfectly cooked lobster meat (tender-firm and sweet) alongside an oozy poached egg, bits of proscuitto and a rich hollandaise sauce. It’s ham and eggs alright — with a side of luxury. With it comes doll-sized English muffins. They are the size of a thumbnail, with each one gloriously crisp all over, airy inside, and buttery tasting throughout. You might just gulp down half a dozen before you realize it.
When you spy Chicken Waldorf Salad ($24) on the menu, you might expect the traditional scoop of mayo-mixed chicken salad dotted with apples. But come on, this is the Village Pub. So what you get here is a lovely pile of Little Gem and frisee with thinly sliced apples, tossed with creamy Gorgonzola. Right next to it is a quarter of a chicken, its skin deeply golden and the breast meat moist.
Carnivores like my husband will gravitate toward Almond Wood-Grilled Bavette Tournedos ($39). Tender slices of veal are arranged over Parisian gnocchi, pillowy and cheesy, with a buttery Bernaise sauce. It’s a dish that’s just as at home on the table at dinner time. To dig into it just before the noon hour makes it all the more decadent.
The special of tagliatelle with black truffles is doubly so. It comes with a quite generous mound of shaved truffles all over the top.
And if you’ve never had a proper French Omelet ($41) before, this is the place to try one. The eggs are cooked so only the most delicate of curds form. The result is an omelet that is extraordinarily creamy and custardy, verging on the texture of a dessert. It doesn’t hurt that it is napped with beurre blanc spiked with Vin Jaune French wine and crowned with a lavish amount of French farmed caviar.
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After all of that, you can still have dessert, too, including Baked Alaska ($20) that’s flamed table-side. Rum is heated, then lit on fire before it’s poured over the top, where it starts to quickly brown the beehive of meringue. You’ll have to blow out the remaining flames before you dig into it to discover chocolate ice cream underneath it all. Shards of brittle and two tiny passion fruit marshmallows garnish the plate to add crackly crunch and a bit of tang.
Finally, little bags of ginger molasses cookies are set in front of you to take home.
Sure puts my usual breakfast of coffee and peanut butter-toast to shame.