Another weekend, another new brunch to try. And this time it's Brickell's newest and hottest watering hole, American Social, that's flipping eggs and pouring bottomless booze.
If you've been to the Fort Lauderdale brunch, this is nothing like it. Gone is the gringo food: crab legs, fried chicken, prime rib. There are, however, a-la-carte offerings of pecan French toast, steak benedict, and ever-flowing Moët mimosas.
One more time: ever-flowing Moët mimosas.
This place has brunch written all over it. Ample outdoor seating overlooking the river with couches to chill on, TVs for sports watching, and pour-your-own beer taps equal every bruncher's dream. On a recent Saturday (American Social does brunch both Saturday and Sunday), the crowd was eclectic, ranging from couples with kids and in their 60s enjoying an all-American afternoon to a group 20-somethings toasting to another year with infinite champagne.
In addition to the craft brews, it has a handcrafted cocktail menu, for which all libations are priced at $15. We opted for a blackberry Collins (Belvedere, fresh blackberries, fresh lime, and simple syrup) and watermelon flame (Patron silver infused with poblano pepper, Combier liqueur d'orange, watermelon juice, and agave nectar). One cocktail not enough for you? Turn your afternoon into a party by going bottomless with either house mimosas or bloodys for $20.95 or upgrading to either Belvedere or Moët for just $36.95.
As for the foodstuff, American Social is testing the waters when it comes to the breakfast-meets-lunch mash-up, as this space is about triple the size of the Las Olas outpost.
The menu features some favorite dinners items such as chicken and waffles, AmSo burger, mac 'n' cheese, rock shrimp flatbread (all of which are fitting for the Sunday feast), as well as a plethora of brunch-centric dishes.
Steak benedict ($19.50) sounds good in theory, except we got so excited by the name that we failed to read the description thoroughly and were surprised when our benedict arrived sans a poached egg. Instead, fried eggs top the Seminole pride six-ounce sirloin that sits atop sautéed spinach on an "old-school" buttered toasted rye that was soggy because it had soaked in all of the juices from the meat and spinach, which itself was pretty watery. Tabasco mornay tops the whole thing off. With a few minor tweaks (like a poached egg), actual Tabasco, properly sautéed spinach, and bread that can hold up, this "benedict" has the potential to be a great brunch dish, but for now it's steak and eggs trying to be something else.
Benedict devotees can get their fix with the classic rendition, which indeed comes with poached eggs, grilled parmacotto, English muffin, heirloom tomato, hollandaise, and home fries. Other egg dishes include the AmSo omelet (Serrano ham, Vermont cheddar, and tomato jam with home fries); three eggs your way with home fries, toast, bacon, or sauage; and the peekytoe crab scramble (peekytoe crab meat, scrambled eggs, heirloom cherry tomatoes, mixed greens salad, basil, and parmesan cheese).
The aptly named New Yorker ($14.50) pays homage to the love that New Yorkers have for bagels with a rendition that tops a Big Apple bagel with smoked salmon, cream cheese, sliced cucumbers, heirloom cherry tomatoes, pickled red onions, and capers. Again, however, the final product was different from the description. A fan of olives, I was excited to try the ceringola type on a bagel for the first time, but my New Yorker lacked the briny spheres.
As per our server, mussels ($15) are one of their big dinner and brunch hits. We couldn't resist to try the bivalves, which are supposed to swim in a pool of shallots, garlic, white wine, crème fraiche, tarragon, chives, and parsley. Unfortunately, all we got was oil and butter. Less would have balanced the sauce and allowed for the other ingredients to come through.
Pecan French toast delivers on all its promises ($15.50). The best dish we had, all the elements -- bananas, spicy pecans, truffled caramel syrup, and spiced powdered sugar -- worked well and are exactly what you want on lazy Sunday (or Saturday) afternoon. Ask for extra syrup and don't neglect the farmland sausage on the side. It provides just the nice amount of savory and protein to the sweet and carb-laden dish.
Given the helluva deal on bottomless mimosas and bloodys in a great setting, American Social has the potential to be one of Brickell's go-to brunch spots. But with serious contenders like OTC, Edge, Zuma, and La Mar nearby, it's going to have to rethink some of its strategy (perhaps sticking to Ft. Lauderdale's successful format) and work on its execution to keep up. Otherwise, Fort Lauderdale is just a 25-minute drive. Just make sure you get there before 11:30. There's a reason the wait is an hour long.
Follow Carla on Twitter @ohcarlucha
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