Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Stephanie's On Newbury

Being a nervous flier, I asked my mom to brunch Sunday morning before I left on my little business trip to San Francisco. Knowing that neither of us had been to Stephanie's on Newbury Street, we settled on that as our location.

Stephanies is one of those Newbury Street restaurants that gives the image of “see and be seen”, where the posh take their break from shopping at Marc Jacobs and Burberry to sip cocktails on their expansive patio in the summer, and near their fireplace in the winter. I was highly anticipating my meal there, hoping, for their quality to be at the level that their location and popularity demands.

Their brunch menu is good. It is large and nicely separated in to items with a “breakfast feel” and items with a “lunch feel”- the true experience of brunch. My mother and I both decided to choose off of the breakfast side, her with frittered French toast, stuffed with cheese and raspberry jam, and I chose their roasted chicken and sweet potato hash with poached eggs and a jalapeƱo hollandaise sauce. I was really excited for the circular chicken experience, and the different take on eggs benedict. The jalapeno sauce sounded pretty tasty as well. The chicken was nicely roasted, and combined very nicely with a healthy serving of potatoes. The potatoes had nicely been able to keep their original flavor, that wonderful delicate flavor that I feel that too often people try to expunge with sugar or marshmallows, or just too many herbs. Stephanie’s did a wonderful job of preserving that flavor. The two eggs that sat on top of the pile we cooked perfectly so that a slight puncture of the fork allowed the yolk to spill out, and was actually really delightful sopped up with potatoes as opposed to the usual bread. The hollandaise sauce was alright for a hollandaise sauce, though it congealed a bit to quickly for my liking. It also, at least to my taste buds, contained very little jalapeno. I saw flecks of green in the sauce that I assumed were the peppers, however there was not heat to the sauce, which was actually the part of the dish I was most looking forward to. A nice healthy heat, cooled by egg yolk I think would be a fantastic start to a day. Alas, I was let down.

The frittered French Toast was as decadent as you might imagine though. Two slices of bread, slathered with cream cheese and raspberry jam put together and then fried created a really wonderful, sweet dish. The outsides of the bread were really nice and crispy, and the bread had been able to maintain its yeast like texture. My mother commented that often with French Toast the bread is soaked so much that you lose the integrity of the bread all together. This was perfectly done. The only complaint- that perhaps cream cheese was not the best filling. Its tang was a bit much with the rest of the flavors, and we dreamed of the delicate cream of Marscapone Cheese, or something similar. Perhaps even a combination of Marscapone and Cream Cheese? One can dream.

Stephanie’s had a very inventive menu, one that I had a difficult time choosing between and I would welcome the opportunity to taste their other offerings, especially as we both noticed that their salads looked very good.

I do have one question for management though- it appeared that half the tables received a basket of breakfast breads, and the other half did not. They were not on the menu- who decides who receives and who does not?

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