22 April 2013

New Orleans, Where You Can Get Lit AND Lit at Breakfast

Breakfast at Brennan's has been a time-honored New Orleans tradition for many decades, and one in which we were happy to participate for Easter Sunday brunch.  It's hard not to love a place (by which I mean both the city and the restaurant) where it would be unusual not to drink and set your food on fire. At breakfast.

A sculpture of their signature rooster in the courtyard
So we were a tiny bit dismayed when we arrived at Brennan's for our 10:30 am reservation (no second breakfast nonsense this time around) to have our cheerful "Good morning!" greeting be returned rather curtly by a harried-looking host. We were directed with an impatiently pointed finger to wait at the bar or in the courtyard for our table until they were ready for us.  Far cry from our reception at Commander's Palace the day before, where everything was the epitome of graciousness!

About 10 minutes later we were led to an upstairs table in a nondescript room.  Again, minor disappointment compared to the charming ambience of Commander's garden room. Lest you're afraid this will be nothing but a woe-betide-me review, fear not.  Our primary server, Dan, was highly personable, and the food itself was amazing.
AW and Carla
AW avec moi
Making our selections for the 3-course breakfast was daunting--even AW had the luxury of two different delicious-sounding vegetarian entrees. AW and I started off with a cocktail called the Fleur de Lis, an exotic combination of champagne, Lillet Blonde, and Grand Marnier, and though they were very elegant, I was a little disappointed in the taste.
Baked apple--the photo is quite deceiving!
I eventually settled on the baked apple, the Eggs Hussarde, which is one of their signature dishes, and Bananas Foster, another signature dish. My mama didn't raise no fool!  While I was fully expecting to enjoy all of it, I was really blown away by the baked apple, served in double cream, and topped with the caramelized sugar from the baking process.  It doesn't look like much in the above photo, but it was one of the best things I've ever put in my mouth--which just goes to show that sometimes what's simple is what's best.
Eggs Hussarde
Eggs Ellen
AW chose the Eggs Portuguese, which is a flaky pastry with poached eggs, tomatoes and gravy and other good things, while Carla opted for Eggs Ellen, a salmon, poached eggs, and Hollandaise concoction. My Hussarde was similar to a traditional Benedict, but with a richer marchand de vin sauce. I liked it very much, but I don't think it was as good as the Eggs Sardou that I'd had there on a previous visit.
Bananas Foster. Again, not pretty, but absolutely fabulous!
Dessert is the course where Brennan's shines, quite literally.  There are at least two flambé options and ordered both of them: Bananas Foster (x2) and the Crepes Fitzgerald.  I wonder how many flambé carts  the restaurant owns, because we saw several "performances" during our visit.  Dan gave the most animated and engaging performance--some of the other servers in the room did it rather perfunctorily.

Here's Dan performing with our Bananas Foster
Another server with a different table's flambé
Our bill was about $50 less overall than our experience the day before at Commander's Palace, but that's simply because our alcohol bill was significantly reduced.  The food prices were comparable. On the way out, we overheard one employee say that they were serving 1,100 people for brunch that day, which may go a little way to excuse the harried greeting we had upon arrival.  That would be an impressive enough number if Brennan's put on a buffet brunch, but for a 3-course, full service meal?  Hard to imagine.


  1. I want to eat all those eggy things. All of them.

    1. I personally would only like to eat most of the eggy things, but that just means we wouldn't have to fight over certain dishes, so it's all good. But seriously, that apple dish was SO good. it looks like brown, unappealing lumps in my photo, but it was truly special.

    2. Oh, I believe you.

      AGH I want to go to NOLA.


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