Sunday brunch and dim sum sound like an unlikely pair until you step inside Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth's Sarsaparilla Club.
The Top Chef couple's restaurant inside the Shelborne Wyndham Grand opened in March. After concentrating on dinner service, the two said it was time to debut a Sunday brunch. The Sunday soiree blends small bites, shared plates, and large entrées, creating a hearty and flavorful meal.
With the addition of Sunday brunch, which officially launched May 1, the eatery is now open six days a week, with Sunday being the only day it's open before sunset. The menu caters to nearly any meal time, giving brunchgoers the opportunity to indulge in a breakfast-oriented brunch, a lunch brunch, or even an early dinner-inspired brunch.
New Times was recently invited for a taste of the dim sum experience and a smattering of other medium to large plates to sample. The restaurant recommends beginning with the brunch-inspired dim sum options and, based on your hunger level thereafter, ordering one or two larger plates to share.
Four dim sum carts arrive one by one at your table in about an hour's time. Each plate is priced from $4 to $9. The first cart brings the Sarsaparilla Club's heirloom tomato dish, which comes blended with homemade ricotta, tomato sorbet, and basil with crisp olive oil toast on the side, along with a drunken deviled egg topped with pickled roots and sunchoke chips. A second cart delivers a carrot-and-beet tartare, which mixes ground rainbow roots, black garlic, mustard, capers, and root chips to create a sweet vegetarian version of the classic beef dish.
Then a third cart offers dumplings and steamed buns traditionally found on the restaurant's dinner menu. Expect pork belly-bacon steamed buns topped with fish sauce, caramel, and cilantro peanut slaw; a beet-and-short-rib dumpling in a smokey plantain barbecue sauce; and a house-made sausage dumpling topped with black-pepper vinegar.
The last cart features a bevy of sweet pastries and desserts. A little basket of muffins brims with flavors like lemon crunch, blueberry and orange, banana peanut butter, and double chocolate; a honey-yogurt cake presented in a small teacup; a Florida panna cotta topped with sweet thyme macerated strawberries and peppered milk crumbs; and the ooey-gooey cinnamon roll, which comes cast-iron-pan baked and smothered in citrus icing.
For those with a heartier appetite, start with Sarsaparilla Club's dim sum experience but then add a entrée or two to share. The restaurant's signature fried chicken dish is among its bestsellers. It's served in a metal basket containing three to four large pieces of green curry fried chicken with kaffir lime powder, coriander, and toasted coconut ($23).
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There's crispy duck leg French toast too ($19), which is tastier than it sounds. Though the name is bizarre, the plate comes with toad-in-a-hole brioche French toast topped with shredded meat, kumquats, frisée and maple. The dough's sweet taste fused with a smoky meat perfectly embodies brunch: breakfast and lunch in one.
Brunch is served Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit sarsaparillaclub.com.