To dine or to brunch, that is the question… OK, so maybe it’s not the question (a la Hamlet), however often times when a new restaurant opens it can be hard to decide when to first go: for dinner or for brunch.
I recently experienced this very serious dilemma when Tongue & Cheek arrived on the South Beach scene earlier this year. So, of course, I did what any logical (?) person would do and visited on back-to-back days – Friday night for dinner and Saturday morning for brunch – thanks to two great Gilt City tasting menu deals.
Below are my thoughts as to which experience is more worth your while:
Round 1: Cocktails
Dinner: The Walking Dead and Florida Clementine Old Fashioned
Brunch: “True Blood” Barbecued Bloody Mary and GLS Sangria
And the winner is… Dinner! Despite the allure of unlimited Brunch cocktails, the nighttime drinks were simply outstanding.
Round 2: Starters
Dinner: Chilled Oysters with Carbonated Cucumber Mignonette & Escargot of Snails
Brunch: Homemade Donut Holes
And the winner is… Brunch! Nothing beats warm baked goods. Nothing.
Round 3: Mains
Dinner: Lamb Belly, Barbecued Octopus & Roasted Eggplant and Wild Striped Bass with Beets, Green Lentil Hummus and Gooseberries
Brunch: Fried Chicken & Waffles and Crab Benedict
And the winner is… Brunch! While you don’t see Lamb Belly on every menu and a properly prepared fresh fish is hard to beat, the Chicken & Waffles and Crab Benedict were deceptively light and just freaking delicious.
Round 4: Sides
Dinner: Grilled Asparagus
Brunch: Spanish Chorizo and Smoked Bacon
And the winner is… Upset Alert: Dinner! I know, you’re saying Asparagus over Cured Meats? Impossible! Alas, the Chorizo and Bacon were a little too greasy and a little too salty for my liking.
Round 6: Dessert
Dinner: Blonde Chocolate & Coffee Custard
Brunch: Baked-to-Order Sticky Icky Bun
And the winner is… Dinner! I know I said before that nothing beats fresh baked goods, but this Custard was simply one of the best desserts I’ve ever eaten. And I don’t give out those types of compliments very lightly.
Mitch’s recommendation: So, I guess I need to declare a winner. Even though Dinner may have taken three categories to Brunch’s two, I must honestly say that Chef Jamie DeRosa’s playful take on contemporary American cuisine makes for a perfect meal, no matter what time you decide to eat it.