after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

replacing the Saturday brunch spot

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t says:  A little bit ago, I described the disappointing brunch at Supper that g and I had, which resulted in a demotion from its former title on our Gold Standards list as our pick for Saturday brunch..  While we will eventually find our way back there to re-evaluate their offerings (how do you argue with free parking at Whole Foods?), we needed to find a reliable replacement for Saturday brunch.  We looked far and wide and found two potential contenders.

The first is Monsu.  These guys are seriously kicking some brunch ass – and I’m pretty sure no one’s noticing, as it was dead-quiet both times g and I visited in November.  Regardless, we were pretty darn impressed with the food and the pricepoint.  I’ll smoosh together the visits to show you what kinds of things are going on over there.

November 2011,  Saturday Brunch – Multiple Visits.  Monsu features a “tourista” menu in which one gets three courses for $22 (actually, it was $20 the first time, $22 the second time – no idea what the real price is).  In our visits, we’ve tasted a variety of dishes and all are quite good.  Here are our two favorites:

polpo

So it doesn’t look like much … but let me tell you that it was a radical kick to the mouth.  Aside from Koo Zee Doo’s milk-poached polpo at dinner, this is the best octopus I’ve ever had.  I mean, it beat out Amada’s polpo for crying out loud!  I’ve only had it once, so maybe I should re-try it just to make sure it wasn’t a fluke before making such statements …  The octopus, itself, is nicely cooked, being tender and not rubbery, but what really makes the dish is the “everything else”.  Now, there was a lot going on and at the time, I didn’t scrutinize the menu enough to memorize the ingredients, but there was some fennel, some sundried tomato, and something with a bit of kick.  It was zingy and light and sweet and spicy all at the same time.  No, it doesn’t look pretty (it looks kind of ugly, actually), but it was awesome!

steak and eggs

Similarly, the steak and eggs doesn’t look like much.  The skirt steak was medium-rare-to-medium, and the potatoes looked bored next to the eggs, which had an odd paleness to them.  I was pretty unimpressed when this plate showed up in front of me … but then I took a bite: it blew me away.  I’m not sure if it was because I was hungry or if it was because it looked so “bleh” that I had zero expectations, but I was shocked.  There was a wonderfully textured and nicely seasoned steak, perfect potatoes, and eggs that were clearly cooked in some kind of meat-fat drippings.  g felt her steak was over-salted.  Mine was not.  I consumed the entirety of my dish (the portion you see above is the tourista-sized portion – if you ordered it alone, it would have been larger).  So approach this dish with closed eyes, and you’re good-to-go.

Yes, there were starches and desserts offered at our visits, including a delicious pork belly and scallop dish and some classic tiramisu.  I think lc joined us for one of the meals and left quite content.  And, of course, one of the best things is looking out the window at those people waiting to get into Sabrina’s.  Ha!  When will they learn?

EDIT:  I found more photos!

chocolate mousse, profiteroles

?scallop + porkbelly?

something g liked involving poached eggs, basil, toasted bread, roasted potatoes

And now allow me to introduce the next contender: Parc.  PARC?!?  Yea, that’s right, Parc.  Now, I must admit that there are a lot of things we dislike about Parc.  It is a Starr restaurant, so you pay big moneys for EtOH and it’s a little pricey overall (e.g. they charge a ridiculous amount for their “pastry basket” at brunch).  Additionally, because of its Rittenhouse location, it tends to attract a slightly older, posher clientele that’s just not quite our crowd.  And then there’s the food that I’ve bad-mouthed in the past, including a boring burger and boring French Toast.  Don’t get me wrong – they’re still boring and we’re probably never going to order them again – but we’ve been recently going back to Parc again and again (and will do so in the future) for two specific dishes …

January 2011, Saturday Brunch, Party of 2.  g loves the “warm shrimp salad”.  As far as naming conventions are concerned, this is perhaps the most boring name ever.  I think it’s because it sounds a bit like two adjectives and a noun instead of an adjective and two nouns.  Also – it should be noted that this is no mayonnaise-laden shrimp salad – this is a completely different animal, being more like a traditional salad with delicious shrimp and dressing  Furthermore, even I, who generally hates salads, have been known to enjoy the dish every now and then.  Fresh greens, avocado, shrimp, truffle [oil], and buerre blanc sauce.  It just can’t go wrong.  It’s neck and neck with Tria’s “grilled asparagus salad” as our favorite Philly salad (and might win just by virtue of being closer to us than Tria).

The second dish is one that I encountered just recently:

pancakes!

That’s right – it’s just a pancake.  No bananas foster sauce, no bacon ice cream, no chocolate anywhere on the plate.  This is a new, more mature t in town – let’s call him “fuddy-duddy-t” (can anyone guess precisely what I’m referring to when I say “fuddy duddy”?).

fuddy-duddy-t says:  Sometimes you just want a pancake.  And that’s it.  You want it a little sweet and a little buttery.  You want it to be rich like a bisquick pancake, but still light and fluffy.  You want it to be thick, but perfectly browned on the outside and still cooked the whole way through.  You want it to remind you a simpler time when you were 7-8-9 years old and would eat McDonald’s Hotcakes with your grandparents before heading to the mall to play video games … except you don’t actually want to eat McDonald’s Hotcakes because their texture is that of a sink sponge that’s on it’s fourth week of use …  This is that pancake.  Lightly dusted with confectioner’s sugar and served with plain maple syrup, it is an homage to all that is good and holy about pancakes.

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Written by afterdinnersneeze

11 January 2012 at 5:03pm

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