I tried brunch at Area Four shortly after it debuted, though it has taken me until now to write it up. You’ll be shocked to discover that, like everything else I’ve had at Area Four, I quite liked it.
We started off with hot tea, which arrived in the signature MEM Tea stainless steel pot along with a playful art deco timer.
The Brioche French Toast with bananas foster compote, candied nuts and chantilly crème frâiche exceeded my wildest expectations. The brioche itself, it should be noted, is baked in house by Katie Kimble, as are all the breads served at Area Four. One of my unofficial rubrics for evaluating a dish of French toast is how much it needs maple syrup. Since I’m not shy when it comes to pouring on what I’d deem one of my top three favorite condiments, a plate of French toast has to be outstanding to make me not want to add any maple syrup. And that was this French toast. Because even a good plate of French toast can do with a little syrup. But this one begged to be enjoyed on its own. This was due to two factors: the bread itself and the banana compote. The bread was moist and eggy throughout, with a nice crust outside and no signs of dryness. The bananas foster compote was silky, syrupy, with big chunks of soft, caramelized banana. The creme fraiche was tangy, light, and rich against the compote, the nuts adding a sweet and hearty finishing touch.
Dave ordered the Hot Mess with two sunny side up Chip-in-Farm eggs, home fries, bacon, A4 breakfast sausage, caramelized onions, cheddar, scallions and pickled banana pepper relish, which closely resembled the baked egg, maple sausage, bacon and cheddar that he tried last summer on our first visit to Area Four for dinner. This is bacon & eggs to the max. The slightly runny yolk seeps down and coats the sausage, homefries and the rest of the goodies that fill the cast iron skillet.
Other brunch treats include a veggie version of the Hot Mess, Kastrie’s Basket of Goodies (which is equivalent to what I get whenever I go to the bakery), the breakfast sandwich on housemade English muffin as well as some lunch selections from their regular menu. I enjoy a good restaurant brunch, but so many of them are just average (certainly the French toast is average or worse) and the experience often feels monotonous. It is rare that one wows me, but this one did.
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