Feel like traveling to France this weekend? While hopping on a direct flight to Paris might be a little over-the-top, going to Royal Boucherie for brunch is totally doable and delicious.
Chef Nicholas Elmi (winner of Bravo’s Top Chef, Season 11) is behind the Old City restaurant and bar, which opened back in November, but their brunch service is only a few weeks old.
Officially categorized as a “brasserie,” the ambiance is the furthest thing from stuffy, and can best be described as a pub with a French twist, with dark woods and dim lighting.
The cuisine is French-inspired American, so it’s completely accessible for your less adventurous friends as well. (There’s a Boucherie Burger on the menu, for example.)
What immediately caught my eye, however, was the selection of malted waffles, with vanilla butter and Pennsylvania maple syrup ($14).
Chef de cuisine, Steve Forte, explained that they wanted a bit of sourness in the waffle to make it a little more special.
If you’re looking to be extra decadent with this dish you can even add 2 oz. of Hudson Valley foie gras to it ($21) or some fried chicken — smoked with buttermilk, smoked paprika and chili ($9).
I ended up steering away from the foie gras and ordered the eggs en cocotte ($19), and becoming an immediate fan.
Two medium eggs are baked in a stoneware bowl with pork belly & cheek, oyster mushrooms, bechamel and smoked cheddar, for a truly hearty yet elegant brunch dish.
On the side, two pieces of heavenly rye bread from Machine Shop Boulangerie made it complete. The waitress recommended spooning some of the eggs onto the bread, which was a great suggestion.
(Side note: That bread was the best I’ve ever tasted, and I sure do eat a lot of it.)
My friend ordered the mortadella grilled cheese ($12) with American cheese and mortadella with pistachios, once again on that fabulous bread. On the side? Pork fat fries. Yum!
In terms of drinks, there’s a long list of cocktails, beers and wines to choose from.
Forte said his favorite cocktail on the menu is the much loved French wine cocktail, Kir Royale, that combines crème de cassis (a blackcurrant liqueur) and prosecco.
I ended up keeping it simple with a glass of Anima Negra and my friend’s dish paired well with a Belgian pale ale.
If you’re not a drinker, you can still sip on an expertly crafted “Temperance” cocktail, choosing from Easy East Side, made with lime, mint and cucumber ($5); Ginger Howard made with ginger, lemon and tea ($5) or the Lavender Bow Tie, made with flowers, grapefruit and soda ($6).
For a caffeine kick, they’ve got La Colombe coffee at the ready.
Brunch is served on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Royal Boucherie is located at 52 S. 2nd St.
For more information, visit: royalboucherie.com