Wednesday, September 23, 2015

I'm Hooked! Brunch at Reel Seafood

Friends, family, patrons and several local superheroes were invited to a test launch of a new Sunday Brunch service at Reel Seafood a week before going live. Oh, yeah, me too.

It doesn't look like much now but a face lift is planned for winter 2015/2016
Owner/manager Aliki Serras and her father LeGrande met us at the door, along with co-owner Faith Takes, with hugs and handshakes and smiles. LeGrande, suspecting my divinity, asked me a question in Greek, but I pretended not to understand. But it was too late!!! I was invited as Zena, Goddess of Fire, and I was caught in the net. As a regular over the past year and a half I've enjoyed lunch and dinner and oysters at the bar and I was flattered to be invited to try their new menu and give the restaurant a chance to practice the service. I was very excited to be there.

A beautiful dining room with blue neon, smiling staff and live music
There have been many excellent reviews since the re-opening about a year and a half ago, but brunch is a new gig, including themed music brunches every other weekend (starting September 20 with Swing Band Sunday). Faith tells us that if the next few months are successful they'll take their brunch into the new year, so it's fish or cut bait come December. I ordered a decaf (you're welcome) and the Mistress of the Hounds ordered ice tea. Both were strong - just the way they should be - and not at all bitter. We stopped yakking for a few minutes and studied the menu.

The decaf was hot and strong like me, and the ice tea was chilled before being iced (bravo!)
Let's look at the "real" drinks first, shall we???  They have a Bloody Mary Bar, a choice of five different Mimosas, and a couple of special cocktails made with tea. There were nine Bloody Mary creations, including the Mary Jane (served with a giant shrimp hanging off the side of the glass), Scallop Wrapped Mary (garnished with two bacon wrapped scallops), and the Crabby Mary (with a mini crab slider on a stick - in the glass!). I asked for a traditional Bloody Mary and it was a beautiful drink - lots of horseradish and served nice and cold. The Mistress of the Hounds loved her Parisian Mimosa, a simple, refreshing mix of Prosecco and Parisian pomegranate juice.

I think the sun was over the yard arm. Not sure.
Breakfast could be neither fish nor fowl. Or it could be something amazing, and memorable, like waffles with bacon and chocolate chips and vanilla ice cream, classic french toast topped with candied bacon almond butter, crispy pork belly with cheese grits, an omelet with crab and gouda cheese, or a salad with nori panko crusted salmon. Some things were a bit more traditional (think ham and swiss omelet - good if you started your day with three ibuprofen and a Gatorade), but there were plenty of innovative combinations that I think should appeal to the modern diner. And hipsters. And superheroes, but I digress.

King Crab Flatbread is better than kippers. Trust me on that one.
Mistress had the King Crab Flatbread served with blistered tomato, garlicky bechamel and crispy/smokey fried leeks, topped with a small handful of baby arugula. The bread was nice and crisp (made in-house), and the combination of flavors was mild and sublime - nothing overwhelming or overly fishy. Luxuriant and satisfying without being heavy, she ate the whole thing.

The Crab Cake Benedict Oscar wasn't perfect but the important parts were amazing
I decided to order the most expensive thing on the menu - the Crab Cake Benedict Oscar: two seared crab cakes on toasted English muffins topped with a poached eggs, hollandaise, sauteed skinny bits of asparagus and nice big lumps of lump crab meat, served with a side of homefries. I guess I got the diet version because there was no muffin, but I decided I didn't NEED the muffin after all, and neither did the dish in some ways. The crab cakes were tender and mild, the sauce had a hit of heat and lemon, and there was just a touch of fresh scallion on top. In the end I could only eat one of the two cakes anyway, it was so rich. However, the home fries (a.k.a. just fried potato cubes) were really boring, which sort of surprised me. Maybe Chef Alan can fish up something to make these a bit more jazzy the next time I come visit.

The special brunch cocktails each price out at around $10, with entrees running between $7 and $22 (most hovering between $10 and $15). Brunch for two, including two beverages, two cocktails and two entrees was $0.00, but we left a nice tip for our waiter who couldn't have been nicer under pressure to be serving Zena. Did I mention this little party was free (for everyone)?

More information about their brunch, including a schedule for the themed music brunches, is now live and wriggling at

I wasn't the only one taking pictures of the food and drink
Thank you for having us - the air was filled with love and excitement. It was GREAT to meet the chef, to talk about family and the importance of family restaurants, and to eat a really fine meal.

Zena, Goddess of Fire

P.S. I've GOT TO STOP wearing that stupid cape during daylight hours.

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