Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Dawson - Brunch

My monthly brunch tour took me to The Dawson in October.  I had been to The Dawson for dinner and really liked it.  They have a vintage look and serve seasonal gastropub fare.  I noticed, when I came for dinner, that they had a pretty extensive cocktail list and having tried a few then, I saw that they were well versed in cocktail making.  At many places I have dined at for brunch, there are usually two or three, Bloody Marys and Mimosas being the standard with the occasional Bellini thrown in.  The Dawson had about 10 cocktails specifically for brunch plus a menu page for there house cocktails.  While I started things off with a very good cup of coffee, I decided to order a cocktail because it seemed that they put some effort in their creation and were not simply an afterthought.  I ordered a drink called a Ten & Six which came in a teacup with a "teabag label" tied to the handle.  The drink had a reddish tea color with an ice cube floating in it and was composed of Death's Door Gin, Tariquet Armagnac, Cocchi Rosa, Oloroso Sherry, Cranberry Apple Tea, and Lemon.  This was a great brunch drink even if it offered all day.  It very much has the style and flavor characteristics of tea.  It is very herbal and bitter, with some fruitiness and tart flavor and was very nice for sipping with breakfast.
As I make my own bacon, I am always interested in what other people/venues do with theirs.  The Dawson makes their own bacon and they had four types on their list.  Luckily, they also offered a flight, so all could be tried (and shared if so desired).  I ordered a flight for the table and saw, when it arrived, that it was a beautiful thing.  The four bacons were arranged on a wooden cutting board and there was more than enough to share.  All of the bacons were well cooked and at least had a crispy crust.  The bacons presented were an Allspice Jowl Bacon, Blackstrap Molasses Bacon, Maple Bacon served slab style, and Hungarian Bacon.  I tried all of the bacons on their own so I was sure I could get a good sense of their flavor.  Having said that, it probably made a difference in what order they were eaten and I may have eaten them in the wrong order.  The first bacon I tried was the Allspice Jowl Bacon.  It was cut into the smallest pieces and was very crispy.  It also had a nice spicy flavor as well as a definite pork flavor.  I next tried the Hungarian Bacon, which was cut into large thick slices.  It had a crisp exterior, but was still chewy and it had a very spicy flavor centered on Paprika and Garlic.  This was probably my favorite bacon after I tried it because its flavor was so emphatic.  I next tried the Blackstrap Molasses Bacon and this is where I may have erred.  This bacon was also sliced and had a crispy exterior, but it wasn't as thick as big or thick as the Hungarian Bacon.  This bacon did taste of molasses, but it was subtle, and after the flavors of the jowl bacon and the Hungarian Bacon, it was kind of lacking.  I wanted to like it, but it didn't stand up to either of the bacons I had just tried.  The last piece was the slab of Maple Bacon, and for this one, the flavor and texture were there.  It also had a crispy exterior, but the interior was tender and meaty.  It also had a very good maple flavor.  Overall, all of the bacons were made well, but my favorites were the Hungarian Bacon followed by the Jowl, the Maple Slab, and the Molasses Bacons.
For my main course, as I had already gone savory with the bacon, I decided to go to the sweet side.  I ordered the French Toast Terrine which was made with Figs, Pistachios, and Breakfast Sausage.  It was served with a Fig and Bitter Green Salad, Whipped Ricotta, sprinkled with Powdered Sugar, and Blis Maple Syrup on the side.  I liked every part of this, but I don't know if it completely came together.  the French toast was very good and flavorful and I thought that the figs and pistachios went well together with it.  The breakfast sausage was pressed into the French Toast and when it was encountered, it was good, but it generally played no part in the dish because I didn't encounter it in most bites.  The whipped Ricotta took the place of butter and while it was good and well prepared, there may have been a little too much.  The maple syrup and the salad were both very good as they were.  Overall, while this was good, it may have been better if there was a little less ricotta and more breakfast sausage.

I did enjoy myself here.  The space is vintage and classic, the service was good, they very definitely have a handle on their cocktail program, and despite my picking, the food was good.  Between The Dawson and its sister restaurant, The Gage, I like both, but I may still prefer The Gage.  The Gage, though, also has the advantage of location.  Given an opportunity to return to The Dawson for a meal, I would surely return.             

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