Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Brunch at The Wild Grape Bistro

Come for the donut holes and stay for the grits.  I've written about The Wild Grape in the past and it is one of the first places that comes to mind when I'm looking for casual, interesting food.  Until recently I had not tried the brunch options, but I've been twice in the past month.

The 12 minute donut holes are the obvious choice to get things rolling.  While not as delightful as the beignets over at Zy, they are still worth a try, especially if you are a fan of cake donuts.  We usually grab two orders.  The donut holes are served with a vanilla custard and a house-made jam, and the correct application is both - in every bite.

The main plates ranged from decent to great in my experiences with brunch at The Wild Grape.  On the decent side was the biscuits and gravy - house made biscuits and gravy served with two eggs to order and apple wood smoked bacon.  I appreciated the restraint shown on the gravy (more than enough but you didn't have to bob for your biscuits), but overall I'd just say this dish was an average example of a classic.

The shrimp'n'grits was another story: rock shrimp, Spanish chorizo, leeks and peppers all served over cheddar grits was worthwhile.  On a very practical level, it would have been nice if the shrimp had been fully peeled given the cheesy sauce they swam in, but I will order this dish again as it was outstanding.

My daughter (she's 3) had her heart set on French Toast. The brioche french toast on the menu was just the ticket, served with house made sweet ricotta, orange jam and maple syrup.  Having tried I bite I thought this one needed something more to make it onto the list of things I'd order - the ricotta is a great idea but nothing held the dish together - it was just a plate with five separate elements. 

As an avid burrito enthusiast I had high hopes for the Wild Grape breakfast burrito (scrambled eggs, chorizo, breakfast potatoes, ranchersauce, black beans and queso fresco).  Good but forgettable, it was a bit dry and not worth repeating. 

The artichoke chicken salad felt like it was moving back into the restaurant's wheelhouse (savory, non-breakfast dishes).  The salad is wood grilled chicken, marinated artichoke hearts, goat cheese, pickled beets, herb croutons and honey cider vinaigrette on mixed greens.  Really nice combo - I would order this one again for sure, and can also heartily recommend the grape salad if you're in the restaurant and feeling like greens.

The crab benedict is comprised of cornbread topped with tomatoes, avocado, chilled crab, spinach and the obvious poached eggs with hollandaise.  The dish was good, but I was hoping for a bit more based on the ingredients.  I would not order this one again.

Finally, we all enjoyed the fig and prosciutto flatbread, which is a house-made whole wheat flatbread topped with sweet and spicy fig jam, crispy prosciutto, smoked provolone, blue cheese crumbles, olive oil and arugula.  I would get this as a starter if you're not sold on the donut holes (you're making the wrong choice, but this was great so at least you'll have that consolation).

The Verdict?  The Wild Grape does its best work on non-breakfast items.  While nothing was bad at brunch, I'd steer anyone towards the lunch side of the brunch menu for the best shot at glory.  While the shrimp and grits was fantastic, I have yet to try anything at brunch that rivals the bison burger or braised beef gnocchi from the dinner menu.

Wild Grape Bistro on Urbanspoon

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