Those oysters again ...
Poblano Benedict at B&B Butchers
The morning was beset by storms, but it was on: We were headed to B&B Butchers & Restaurant, which had just recently inaugurated a brunch service, to much fanfare. I admire what owner Benjamin Berg has done at the restaurant and butcher shop since setting up in the former (and beautiful) Ditmann Bakery building — there are benefits to historic preservation — in 2015 and serving forth excellent steaks and seafood (among other menu items).
Every time I visit B&B Butchers, I revel in the exposed wood and brick, the beams and fixtures. This time, I saw something new: a thoughtful system of louvers in place over the upstairs outdoor dining deck … we were seated under the louvers, which were open at the time of our arrival, because the rain had blown away and a sliver of sunlight was fluttering around. That was soon to change, however.
Beginning with a Bloody Mary is the civilized thing to do, so that’s what we did. All was good with them until near the bottom of the glasses; it seems that the bartenders at B&B suspend spices and herbs in the ice cubes, and when those cubes begin to soften they turn into a muddy mush that is not in the least pleasant to the palate. The rest of the drink is fine, a good amount of tequila and a strong peppery note.
We shared an order of Carpet Bagger on the Half Shell, an item on B&B’s menu that I recommend to anyone who likes richness. I’ve ordered it several times during visits to the restaurant, and the one served to me for brunch was as good as any of them, which is to say it was nearly flawless. Crispy oysters, rich and smoky bacon, tender filet, plus Roquefort cheese and a picante sauce. Four to an order, perfect for two diners.
I had made an omelette the day before, so I went for the Lux & Lox: salmon, Ossetra caviar, capers, truffled cream cheese, sliced red onion, tomato, and a toasted bagel. The bagel could have used another minute or two in the toaster (or under the broiler), but the rest of the ensemble was much more than enjoyable: caviar that popped when bitten into, crunchy onions and capers, nicely cured fish, and cream cheese taken to the next level with the truffle flavor.
My friend ordered the Poblano Benedict — sautéed poblano pepper, corn, shallots, and grilled squash. No meat in this dish, but it was hardly missed. We wanted a bit more heat, but the corn and shallot mixture was comfortingly good, and the poblano was a touch smoky and a little tangy, all of which combined for a delicious bite.
The brunch menu at B&B Butchers is large — eggs seven ways (at least); four Benedicts; 17 side dishes, including steak fries, grilled asparagus, and potato hash — everyone in a party of eight would have no problem finding something they liked, and you’ll be entertained by musicians.
As we neared the end of our brunch, the rain returned, and we saw the louvers in action. They were closed, and we were dry and sated under them at our table.