I am not really in the business of doing restaurant reviews. This is a recipe blog, after all. But I am going to make an exception and let me tell you why. I was fortunate enough to win a place at the table with the Boston Brunchers a few weekends ago and it was a glorious experience. This is a group run by Renee of EatLiveBlog, and she chooses a different restaurant each month for local area bloggers to do brunch and test out the menu. Let me be honest, I was getting a free meal. You might think that makes me feel obligated to do this review, but such is not the case. If I hadn’t enjoyed my experience, I’d likely just stay mum on the subject. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all, right? However, I thoroughly enjoyed myself and it wasn’t just the amazing bloody marys talking.
Let me apologize for the mediocre pictures, first and foremost. They do not do the brunch justice at all. I was at the far end of the table, towards the dark part of the restaurant and I am not such an experienced photographer. Try as a might, I couldn’t find a way to adjust for the lighting and hold my camera still enough to not get blurry photos. What you see here is the best of the lot.
The meal was purported to be a “tasting menu”. And it was, if your definition of tasting is an almost full portion for every one of the five courses! But the food was so good, every one of us was hard-pressed to pace ourselves and not eat all of each course. By course number three, I was stuffed. But I managed to press on. We started off with mimosas and bloody marys. These were hands down the best blood marys I’ve ever had, lots of spicy horseradish and homemade pickles and pickled onions for garnish. Then came two courses that were not on the regular menu – a lobster frittata and a perfectly poached egg atop an herb biscuit. The frittata was good, the poached egg and biscuit was phenomenal! In some ways, my diabetes helped me out with this brunch, because I had a good reason to resist eating the whole of every course.
Next came the Biltmore’s version of pigs in a blanket – a homemade breakfast sausage rolled in a pancake, with their special apple maple syrup. I am usually not a fan of breakfast sausage, I prefer spicy italian sausages. But this was delicious and I ate every bite, without the pancake. Then came the best part of the whole meal, a dish that the Biltmore is known for, it’s fried chicken and waffles. To this girl born north of the 49th parallel, the two things seem like an unlikely combination. Except that they’re not. They’re awesome, at least when done by the Biltmore. The fried chicken was crispy and flavourful and the waffle, of which I only had a few bites, was the best I’d ever had. I’ve always loved waffles, they used to be my favourite thing to order at breakfast or brunch, so I think myself well versed in waffles. And this one was perfection. So crispy, so utterly perfect, it was VERY hard for me to restrain myself.
The final course was a parfait of berries, whipped cream and their homemade granola. After all the wonderful food, I could barely fit in a bite, but my impression was of a lovely crunchy granola and fresh berries. But really, if you go to the Biltmore, you would be cheating yourself if you chose this for brunch. Go for the chicken and waffle, go for the chicken and waffle! Or the pig in a blanket. Really, whatever you choose, you won’t be disappointed. The Biltmore makes so many of their items on premises, including the garnishes and condiments – the pickles, the hotsauce, the breakfast sausage, the granola…even the maple syrup! They care about the little details and it shows.
When I was growing up in Toronto, there was a commercial for a leather goods store in a town called Acton, and the tagline was “It’s worth the drive to Acton”, a phrase we repeated as kids all the time. The Biltmore Bar and Grill is in Newton, which is a bit of a hike from my neck of the woods and for many towns in the greater Boston area. But I will be heading back there and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Without question, the Biltmore Bar and Gril is worth the drive to Newton.