Sunday, June 4, 2017

The Rustic

What better way to celebrate a birthday than Saturday brunch and The Rustic in Dallas provided a great venue.  First, a little about the venue. The Rustic has a huge outdoor area, known as Pat's Backyard.  Filled with fire pits, Adirondack chairs and picnic tables, the plentiful oak trees make it a great place to hang out.  If it gets too hot, just ask for a table umbrella to cool things down.  There's also a stage that opens to both the outside and the inside for the live music that is common here.  In the five hours we were there, we heard two different groups performing.  I really liked that set up. We were able to sit inside and avoid the sun and impending rain, but still enjoy the live music.

Now let's talk about brunch.  I'm still trying to decide how I feel about The Rustic Brunch.  In a way, it's quite genius, especially for a girl who has trouble making food decisions. The only way to get brunch is family style. For $16.95, you get a sampling of everything -

  • CHEESE AND FRUIT - local cheeses, honeycomb, fresh fruit, and assorted breads
  • COUNTRY BAKED EGGS - sharp white cheddar, chives, and organic baby spinach
  • BUTCHERSHOP SKILLET - bacon and sausage from Rudolph’s Market
  • HOT CHICKEN - Nashville-style spicy fried chicken and dill pickles
  • BABY FRIED TOAST - hand-cut challah, soaked in vanilla custard and topped with house-made rosemary syrup
  • SMOKED CHEDDAR GRITS - creamy polenta cakes with roasted poblanos and smokey cheddar on sausage gravy
  • DAILY DONUTS - small batch donuts baked just for you

As you can see, it's great because you get to try a little bit of everything. But you're also locked into the one thing.  So it's no choice with choice, I guess.  Which if you know what you're getting in to, it's not a big deal.  I just hadn't done my research. 

Everything was good, but a few things did stand out to me.  The bacon and sausage was crazy good.  The bacon was thick cut and full of flavor.  I would have loved a full skillet of that.  Luckily, the sausage was really good as well.  Also in the skillet was that Hot Chicken.  Even though I'm not a fan of hot and spicy foods, I liked it.  I think it helped that the spice was not too much;  rather it gave the chicken a good, strong flavor.   The chicken itself was tender and moist and the crust was that perfect medium.  Not overly crunchy, but just enough to add another later of flavor and texture.

Baby Fried Toast and Country Basked Eggs with Greens
The country backed eggs were good, but not spectacular.  I ate them when I was transitioning from one food to another, almost like cleansing my palate. The smoked cheddar grits fell into this category, too.  It wasn't a neutral palate cleanser because of the roasted poblanos, but for me they were just good.  Setting it in the gravy did add another layer of complexity to the flavors.  That was definitely a good move.

My favorite was probably the Baby Fried Toast.  Thick challah bread doused in rosemary syrup and vanilla custard.  I could not get enough of it!   The rosemary syrup helped cut the sweetness so that it wasn't overwhelming. I love french toast, but often I won't order it because it calls for a big nap immediately afterwards.  So the few bites I did get were really quite perfect.  Just the right amount.

The cheese and fruit tray was a heavenly way to finish off the meal.  I wasn't too sure abut the different cheeses, but whatever they were, delish!  Also on the tray was a twist on the traditional bruschetta.  No tomatoes, but an avocado mixture sprinkled with a bit of cheese sprinkled on top. I would have loved to have more than one of those.

This brunch comes with these precious little baby doughnuts. Somehow we didn't get
them with everything else but when we did get them, oh yumminess!  A small sweet way to end the meal.  I tried the coconut one and then a sugar coated cake doughnut.  I'm kind of glad they forgot to bring us the doughnuts right way. We got a couple of extras and they were warm.

It's not brunch without mimosas.  At The Rustic, you can choose rose or champagne, orange juice or grapefruit juice.  We went with the traditional OJ and champagne. According to the menu, we should have also received Brazos Valley marmalade and mixed berry preserves, but those never appeared.

After brunch in the backyard, we moved inside to just hang out and celebrate Jessica.  It was a fun day spent with friends.  Here's what you need to keep in mind about The Rustic. It is a great place to spend the afternoon.  It's designed for hanging out.  The live music and the many craft beers on tap are what makes this place such a popular destination for friends who just want to spend time together.  While the food is good, that's not why you go to The Rustic.  And be warned, the service is a bit lacking.  We were there five hours, so over two shifts, and we sat both outside and inside.  No matter the shift, the service was less than stellar. Friendly, just not efficient.  Keep that in mind when you visit.

Happy birthday, Jessica!

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