Monday, March 21, 2011

Guest post by E: Sunday brunch at Stephanie's

(Ed.: I'm pleased to present a review written and photographed by the lovely E.  If you haven't met her or had the pleasure of dining with her, then you're missing out, but this post is a tiny bit of her gastronomical perspective.)

I have had the good fortune in the past couple of months to explore some great local cuisine (and a lot of sandwich platters) during my grad school interview process.  Two weekends ago found me in Boston, and my program booked us for brunch at the famous Stephanie's on Newbury.  This was definitely the most exciting meal I had been offered on my visits so far, and Cynthia graciously agreed to allow me to do a guest post.

What I suspect, after my meal, is that Stephanie's is very, very good at doing a few things, and as a newcomer I really didn't know what those things were.  The current grad students knew what they were doing - one ordered an apple cinnamon oatmeal brulee, pictured below.  It clearly fell in the "specialty" category, and it was spiced, comforting, goodness.

I'm usually an eggs-and-potatoes girl for breakfast, so I ordered the vegetarian omelette, with spinach, tomatoes, and feta, with breakfast potatoes on the side.  It was definitely enjoyable, though I was a little disappointed to find it unremarkable/not quite up to the reputation of the establishment - the omelette was a little watery (I don't know if they accounted for the tomatoes as much as they should have) and the potatoes were a little overspiced, but the company was good.

The highlight, though, was the small piece I ordered as an extra - grapefruit brulee.  Instead of slacking on the simple stuff, Stephanie's went all out.  Presentation was impeccable, and it turns out grapefruit with caramelized sugar is incredibly good.

This was listed in the "sides" portion of the menu, along with the oatmeal I mentioned above - I think Stephanie's excels at making things that don't sound like much taste absolutely amazing.  Their ability to do small things well carried over to the atmosphere in the restaurant as a whole.  It was charming - all dark wood, large windows, and classic leather, and they were able to accommodate a group of our size.  All in all, a satisfying Sunday brunch.