Last Updated on Friday, 14 September 2012 08:36
Click Here For A Rated List Of 40 Brunches
Sunday Brunch Restaurants
The least stressful major meal of the week is Sunday brunch. It's a time for families, friends, lovers, and other away-from-work folks. You don't usually have to be somewhere else after brunch. No wonder its popularity grows all the time.
There are those for whom Sunday brunch is the big socio-culinary event of the week. The free-flowing "Champagne" (the sparkling wine that pours at Sunday brunch is almost never actually Champagne, although some of the substitutes can be very good), the music, the surfeits of food, and the decompression all contribute.
What is brunch, anyway? Obviously, the word is a shoving together of "breakfast" and "lunch," which describes the meal itself. I restaurateur who was about to add Sunday brunch to his schedule told me that his menu would be "Just like lunch, but with a few egg dishes added." Simple as it sounds, that about captures it.
Here in New Orleans, we can make an excellent case for claiming to have invented brunch as it is known worldwide today. When the institution of Breakfast at Brennan's (which really is a brunch) was created in the 1940s, along with it came dozens of new eggs dishes. Most were created from whole cloth by Brennan's first chef, Paul Blange. On top of those were items like Creole cream cheese with fruit, grillades and grits, and calas--all distinctly New Orleans dishes.
It is known who came up with the idea of adding live jazz to brunch. Dick Brennan, Sr. (Dickie's dad) was staying with his family in a hotel in London, waiting for the others to come down for Sunday midday dinner. A jazz trio was playing in the lobby. He called his sister Ella back in New Orleans (where, shoe told him, it was two a.m.) and said, "Ella! Jazz brunch!" They started it at Commander's Palace when he got back to town. This was in the early 1970s. Now jazz brunch is everywhere.
If you're interested in seeing a restaurant's kitchen at its best, Sunday brunch is not the time to go. Not only are the best cooks and waiters often not on duty (they're too pooped from Saturday night), sometimes the management is even missing. What's more, the menus tend to be fairly cut-and-dried, with specials being rare.
Although not many restaurants serve brunch buffets, they are perhaps the most form of the meal. Many people use the words "brunch" and "buffet" interchangeably. As is true of all buffets, brunch buffets are noteworthy more for the quantity than the quality of food. There are some exceptions, which I list below. It's not coincidence that all of them are in hotels, which use the meal as an attention-getter.
The Dark Side Of Brunch
The temptation to go out for Sunday brunch on holiday weekends seems irresistible. This is especially true on Mother's Day and Easter. The volume of brunchers on those two days is so enormous that reservations must be made well in advance if you want to go to the great brunch places. Even then, it is highly likely that you will encounter a special menu, much more limited than on a standard Sunday, and at a higher price to boot. The buffet brunches get hot especially hard, and sometimes move into vast banquet spaces in the hotels. This is almost always accompanied by a drop in goodness.
If food is your main consideration, it's a good idea to avoid Sunday Brunch on Mother's Day and Easter. If that's not possible, here's another strategy. Many restaurants that don't usually serve brunch (or open at all on Sundays) do so on those two days. Scout around for those options, because they will be less overwhelmed and pricey. And the food will likely be better.
Here's a list of every restaurant serving a more-than-perfunctory Sunday brunch. Ratings are only for brunch. See the Open Restaurants page to see the restaurants' ratings for all other meals. The lack of a rating means only that I have not reviewed brunch at the restaurant yet, not that it is unacceptable.
One more thing. Restaurants that serve brunch have been known to suddenly stop serving the meal, without telling me of this decision. I try to stay on top of this, but I still advise that you make a reservation, if only to be sure they're still serving the meal.
7 On Fulton. Warehouse District: 700 Fulton. 504-681-1034.
Albertine's Tea Room (Columns Hotel). Uptown: 3811 St. Charles Ave. 899-9308.
Andrea's. Metairie: 3100 19th Street. 504-834-8583.
Annadele Plantation. Covington: 71495 Chestnut. 985-809-7669.
Antoine's. French Quarter: 713 St. Louis. 581-4422.
Arnaud’s. French Quarter: 813 Bienville. 523-5433.
Atchafalaya. Uptown: 901 Louisiana Ave. 504-891-9626.
Benedict’s. Mandeville: 1144 Lovers' Lane: 985-626-4557.
Bistro at Maison de Ville. French Quarter: 733 Toulouse. 504-528-9206.
Brennan’s. French Quarter: 417 Royal. 525-9711.
Broussard's. French Quarter: 819 Conti. 581-3866.
Cafe Adelaide. CBD: 300 Poydras Street: 595-3305.
Café B. Old Metairie: 2700 Metairie Road. 504-934-4700.
Cafe Degas. Mid-City: 3127 Esplanade Ave. 945-5635.
Cafe Lynn. Mandeville: 3051 East Causeway Approach . 985-624-9007.
Commander’s Palace. Garden District: 1403 Washington Ave. 899-8221.
Criollo (Monteleone Hotel). French Quarter: 214 Royal. 523-3341.
Crystal Room. CBD: Le Pavillon Hotel, 901 Poydras. 504-581-3111.
Dante's Kitchen. Riverbend: 736 Dante. 861-3121.
Flaming Torch. Uptown: 737 Octavia. 504-895-0900.
Juniper. Mandeville: 301 Lafitte. 985-624-5330.
La Cote Brasserie. Warehouse District: 700 Tchoupitoulas. 613-2350.
La Provence. Lacombe: 25020 US 190. 985-626-7662.
Lüke. CBD: 333 St. Charles Ave. 504-378-2840. French.
Marigny Brasserie. Marigny: 640 Frenchmen. 945-4472.
Martinique. Uptown: 5908 Magazine. 504-891-8495. French Caribbean.
Mimi's. River Ridge: 10160 Jefferson Hwy. 504-737-6464.
Mr. B’s. French Quarter: 201 Royal. 523-2078. Contemporary Creole.
Muriel's. French Quarter: 801 Chartres. 568-1885.
Palace Cafe. CBD: 605 Canal. 523-1661.
Patois. Uptown: 6078 Laurel. 504-895-9441.
Peppermill. Metairie: 3524 Severn Ave. 455-2266.
Ralph's On The Park. Mid-City: 900 City Park Ave. 488-1000.
Restaurant des Familles. Lafitte: 7163 Barataria Blvd. at Lafitte-Larose Hwy. (LA 45 at LA 3134). 689-7834.
Rib Room. French Quarter: 621 St. Louis: 529-7045.
Windsor Court Grill Room. 300 Gravier: CBD. 504-522-1994.
Begue’s. 300 Bourbon: French Quarter. 553-2278.
Court of Two Sisters. 613 Royal: French Quarter. 522-7273.
Hotel Inter-Continental. Veranda. 444 St. Charles Ave: CBD. 525-5566.