Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Winter Brunch Bunch at New World Bistro

Sunday brunch is for mortals and superpowers, including churchgoers, gym junkies, and folks that sleep in then wake up starved with a hangover needing something rich and salty with potatoes and a cocktail to help them recover. New World Bistro Bar is hallowed ground for folks that like to eat, casual enough for the sweatpants crowd, and with spaces dark enough for those of us you wondering what that bright yellow thing is in the sky.

We arrived around 11:30, only a half-hour after opening, to a full parking lot and a busy restaurant.  But we did have a reservation and so were promptly seated in a large wooden booth in the front near large plate glass windows letting in lots and lots of that bright yellow stuff. There is also a nice room in the back on the main level where a couple of families had gathered for a late morning meal, as well as an upper level bar that was funky and a bit more cozy.

Shortcake and I opened the meal with a couple of special beverage concoctions. I had a Kickass Bloody Mary ($7) which was so spicy with horseradish that I almost developed a new superpower: breathing fire. No wonder the waiter raised his eyebrows at me when I ordered it. Even the garnish had a hot red pepper! It was better when the ice had melted a bit. Shortcake had a St. Germain Cocktail ($8), an elderflower liqueur served with Cava (a Spanish sparkling wine), club soda and a lemon twist. It was tart and refreshing, and sort of grassy; the presentation was lovely.

We were talking too much so we were slow to decide what to order, but our waiter was patient and, of course, plenty busy with other customers. He competently listed off all the specials. The breakfast burrito was made with sausage and red beans, eggs and scallions; there was poutine (fries) with poached eggs, sausage and cider gravy; also cheddar grits with Smoke House of the Catskills ham and red eye gravy; and a warm vichyssoise with ramps and potato. Their Winter 2014 Brunch Menu wasn't long but what they did have looked pretty hearty, including "bennies" (eggs benedict, and yes I had to ask what "bennies" were and I understand now that there are no jets, fyi - but I digress), hash plates, and specialty omelettes, all served with home fries and a side salad. Sweet stuff was just a few varieties of House Made Belgian Waffles and French Toast. There is also an interesting lunch menu you could order from offering up snack plates, salads, burgers and pizza, but the four of us decided to stick to the brunch menu. After ordering we were nicely surprised to be served complimentary jalapeno rolls by one of the wandering servers. Cheesy, crusty, still warm, not too spicy, these were a pretty tasty treat. They had a few corn kernels and diced peppers in there. It all went nicely with a bit of olive oil.

Shortcake, not a surprise, since she's a sweetie, ordered the Well Dressed Waffle, served with a delicious compote made with mango and pineapple, as well as real maple syrup and a bowl of whipped cream. The waffles were a bit dry but still light and crispy. I thought the combination was divine.

SuzieQ ordered Gabe's Breakfast Bowl, a layer of hash browns below another layer of scrambled eggs, then bacon, spinach, and shrooms topped with cheese. Tasty, somewhat simple, and not as generous a portion as some of the other plates on the table, but still ample.

Shortcake and SuzieQ were yakking up a storm. Red, who has a pulled pork thing going, was digging into her Ropa Bennie, made with shredded Cuban Pot Roast topped with poached eggs and a guava hollandaise. She was pretty focused and somewhat blissful. The eggs were perfectly cooked - still runny in the middles, and the pork was plain but tender and tasty and married well with the rest of the dish's elements. The hollandaise was nothing special, but the brioche roll was wonderful and oh so much better than the old English muffin thing. I watched her slowly eat the whole thing.

I decided to try the burrito special, a.k.a. Tyler's Big Brunch Burrito of the Day, the one with the beans. It reminded me of red beans & rice, Louisiana style. I could taste Andouille sausage, I think, but I'll be dinged if I chewed on any meat, but that's OK, the flavor was terrific. I LOVED the beans. And the eggs were fluffy and tender all rolled up in an oversize burrito. The lightly dressed greens were a welcome accompaniment to what ended up being a pretty spicy brunch, and the hash browns were pretty good too, flavored with red peppers/not too salty or spicy (a bit oily perhaps)


To wrap up our meal SuzieQ ordered dessert - a blueberry, pineapple and peach crumble topped with ice cream (optional), along with another cup of coffee; I joined her for a decaf, since you don't want to see me on caffeine, trust me on that one. The crumble was warm and it smelled like heaven or even better, like that place where superheroes go when they retire - it was thick and sweet and decadent. We all had a taste and really loved the pineapple in there. Oh, and the coffee was excellent - and fair trade - it was a nice strong brew.

Other dessert specials sounded terrific, like a pink grapefruit sorbet, ice cream sandwiches made with soft ginger cookies filled with apricot and orange blossom ice cream, creme brulee with rosemary citrus, and sliced apples with dulce de leche. But I was too full to stand.....

The DelSo neighborhood is trendy and New World Bistro attracts a hip, professional crowd with an obvious appreciation of what good food can be. The service was attentive, the food well above average, and the prices fairly reasonable. But I found the space not so comfy -  the benches in our booth were hard and unforgiving, the light pouring through the plate glass was a bit harsh, the cool breeze coming through the cracks was chilly, and the noise level seemed unusually high. And I'm not blaming all this on how I felt from partying the night before, after protecting the city from the forces of evil, of course.

This won't keep me from returning, though, and in a short time their semi-enclosed patio should be open, so there's another choice of seating, depending on what type of Sunday brunch bunch you happen to go with.

Our meal was $86.40 for four brunch offerings, two cocktails, two coffees and a dessert, plus tip. 

Zena, Goddess of Fire

Thank you, Daniel, for putting up with us. I hope I got your name right this time. (:

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