Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Bristol - Brunch

About six years ago, a trend started in the restaurant industry called the gastropub.  These places were relatively small with a long bar and a good beer and cocktail list like many neighborhood bar and grills.  Unlike your neighborhood bar and grill however, these places had a really good food menu, frequently featuring things like charcuterie that were made by hand and took some time to make.  The Bristol was one of the first of these places and essentially set the standard.  When it opened, there were two large communal tables in the center of the room that, in addition to the long bar, consisted of most of the seating.  The back wall consisted of a chalkboard, on which, the frequently changing dinner menu was written (Paper menus are also provided for diners).  The tables are still in the center of the room, but they have since been divided into four tops which could be pushed together for larger parties..  I have been here for dinner and really enjoyed it but it has been a few years and never for brunch so I decided it was time for a visit.  I was seated at one of the butcher block tables that provided the seating along the walls.  We started out with a Basque Cake, a cake from the Basque region of France and Spain with a crispy crust and a very fluffy interior, that was served with fresh peaches and a Buttermilk Sabayon (custard).  This was really good.  The outer crusty layer was very cookie-like and the interior was fluffy and sweet.  The peaches were sliced were at the peak of ripeness that were sweet, tart, and slightly crisp.  The buttermilk sabayon was sweet and sour and fluffy and with the peaches provided a good counterpoint to the cake.

For my main course, I had Chilaquiles.  There are many restaurants in the area that serve what they call chilaquiles but are actually Tex-Mex Migas.  Both dishes use fried tortilla chips salsa and eggs but the focus on chilaquiles is on the chips and salsa and with migas, the focus is on the eggs which are frequently scrambled.  The Bristol's Chilaquiles were really chilaquiles.  The tortilla chips were crispy and slightly salty when they were not sitting in the medium spicy green salsa.  The chips and salsa were topped with onions, cilantro, pork belly, and queso fresco, topped with a semi-hard fried egg, and garnished with fresh lime.  The pork belly was very tender and easily pulled apart.  The cilantro and onions were very fresh, flavorful, and crisp and the egg was a good finish to the dish.

As I said before, I had really enjoyed coming here for dinner.  I see now that I have waited too long before coming for brunch.  This was really good and I will have to return. 

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