I’ve often joked that I will go to the ends of the earth for a good meal. Recently I did go for two brunches: one in Boca and another in Coral Gables.
It may not be “the ends of the earth” but after driving on 95, it seems like it.
110 Plaza Real S, Boca Raton
Having already enjoyed wonderful food and service at Corvino for dinner, we looked forward to brunch and we weren’t disappointed. The menu is varied, truly offering something for everyone and the cocktail service is sensational. A Bloody Mary bar is available for $12-$18, depending on the choice of liquor. Guests can order their choice of vodka and there will be a station at which guests can choose from tomato juice, a house bloody Mary mix, hot sauces, fruits and veggies, and horseradish. A special brunch cocktail menu and full bar are also available, along with bottomless mimosas.
The brunch menu includes New Orleans style French toast, seafood crepe gratin, smoked trout and tomato hash, a yogurt parfait, a create your own omelet, huevos rancheros, shakshuka, and a classic eggs Benedict.
We began our meal with smoked salmon and salmon roe on crisp potato pancakes with dill crème Fraiche as an appetizer. It would also make a light brunch entrée. For our main dishes we both went the seafood route, I had the eggs Chesapeake; crab cakes topped with poached eggs and Old Bay hollandaise. My husband opted for the Bar Harbor with butter-poached lobster topped with two poached eggs. Both dishes were sublime.
Dessert options include a “Mile High Beach Pie,” Corvina’s version of a Key Lime tart, topped with about four inches of meringue. Old San Juan cheesecake flan, which is basically a flan surrounding a cheesecake center. Both are delicious, but for $11 are rather skimpy servings. Even if you don’t end with dessert, the meal ends on a sweet note as caramel corn is presented with your bill.
2415 Ponce De Leon, Coral Gables
We met my niece for Guncles’ Day for brunch near her new apartment in Coral Gables. I’d read about Crudos and had been wanting to check it out, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity. My niece arrived, she thought she was in the wrong place, saying that it looks more like a nightclub. She’s not wrong, and Crudos does take on a club vibe at night, especially in the upstairs cocktail bar, with its DJ and light bites menu.
The downstairs looks rather loungey with just a small banquette area amidst the eye-popping art collection. We were one of two parties enjoying brunch, although a few more filtered in later in the afternoon. Since the vibe was so clubby, I decided to start with a drink. Cocktails are not your usual variations on Bloody Mary and Mimosa. I tried the Frida Love, a fizzy confection of tequila and ginger beer with a rosemary-ginger reduction. It was refreshing and went down easy. It also served as a palate brightener for all the delightful flavors that were to come.
The brunch menu isn’t large or very diverse, and the starters are limited to lobster bisque and truffle fries, but the regular menu is also available, so we began with some appetizers. Tuna tartare was not what we expected. White instead of pinkish-red in color, it was stacked into a tower with quinoa, spicy mayo, avocado and topped with a little salmon roe, it was light and fresh. The truffle langoustine casserole, presented a trio of large crustaceans, perfectly cooked atop a tasty corn puree, and topped with fried leeks. I opted to try one of Crudos’ signature rolls, the House on Fire. A large roll (at least eight pieces) featured shrimp tempura, crab, roe, and avocado topped with eel sauce and tempura flakes and then torched tableside. I’m not certain the torching did anything for the flavor, but it was impressive, nonetheless.
My niece has a sweet tooth, so she made a beeline for the French toast. A large slice of brioche comes topped with cinnamon ice cream and crumbled Froot Loops. She didn’t notice that the menu also lists caramelized bacon, and she doesn’t eat meat. Our wonderful (and handsome!) server immediately replaced the dish, remade sans bacon. Other than an abundance of ice cream, this made for a delicious dish. My hubby opted for his fave, the lobster roll, which featured plentiful lobster in a light butter dressing. The only problem was, rather than the typical lobster roll bun, they served all the deliciousness on a skimpy hotdog roll, making the dish difficult to eat. The sandwich was accompanied by perfectly cooked truffled fries.
I thought I’d go for something light after my large maki roll and ordered the avocado toast. The avocado mash was a bit tart, but the smoked salmon, crispy capers, and cherry tomatoes balanced it out somewhat. The portion was huge, with plentiful toppings atop two big slices of toast. I ate half of one slice and took the remainder home where it was served as two meals.
Other brunch options include ham and brie or veggie omelet, steak and eggs, pancakes, yogurt and fruit parfait, or a Monte Cristo sandwich. We finished up by sharing the “Hana” a molten lava cake, dark and rich made with 70% cacao and served with a scoop of refreshing vanilla ice cream, it was so rich and decadent that we could only manage a few bites each. Dark, rich coffee with non-dairy milk brought the meal to the perfect conclusion.