There's not exactly a lack of brunches in town. In the past year, the breakfast-meets-lunch mashup seems to have become everyone's favorite meal of the week, and with good reason. Bloody marys and eggs benedicts help you recover from a punishing hangover on Sunday. But what about Saturday?
Why more places don't offer Saturday brunch is beyond me. If anything, that's the day you want to take full advantage of bottomless booze and work up a killer buzz. (That way you have all of Sunday to cure it.) With the current weather not causing you to work up a sweat from simply walking to your car, outdoor brunch is an even better idea. Enter Traymore's live jazz brunch where you can kick back, listen to some tunes while you drink limitless quantities of gin punch and indulge in lobster grilled cheese. That's how you do Saturday brunch.
Going on its fifth week, the live jazz brunch is a Saturday-only occasion. "No one else on the beach really does brunch on Saturdays," says executive chef Jonathan Lane. "We have this great access to the boardwalk so we wanted to utilize it."
Lane worked in Miami in the '80s with Norman Van Aken back when the Mango Gang put Floribbean cuisine on the map. Since then, he's gotten around to London, Chicago, and Las Vegas, working for high-end and Michelin-starred toques before deciding to return home.
In case you're unfamiliar, Traymore is perched at Collins Avenue and 24th Street, inside boutique hotel COMO by Metropolitan. "We haven't really advertised or anything because we want to keep it a low-key kind of vibe," says Lane. Low key is exactly right. You'll want to walk right past the retro dining room and head outside, where a bevy of couches await master brunchers. The first thing you'll do (or you ought to do) is order the signature gin punch (citrus fruits, pineapple, and bitters). One will cost you $12, or you can shell out eight extra bucks for non-stop fun.
Gin not your thing? Go for one of the brunch classics -- either bloody mary, mimosa, or bellini. Soak in some blues as you knock back your first couple of rounds.
The menu isn't your typical brunch fare, and that's a good thing. "We're a seafood-focused restaurant, so we really wanted to pay respect to that," says Lane, "even with our brunch menu."
What that means? There's a seafood and jamon corner on the brunch menu. In it, East and West Coast oysters at $3 a pop and jamon serrano for $18 per pound. You can also get a seafood platter ($68 for a small; $135 for large) with oysters, lobster, mussels, shrimp, and ceviche.
The ceviche ($8), by the way, is quite delicious. Fish is drenched in an aji amarillo sauce and packed with abundant flavor. Don't feel weird about drinking the remaining juice -- in Peru this is considered the ultimate hangover remedy.
The winning brunch dish at Traymore's jazz brunch, however, is not a fish dish. It's the slow-roasted pork belly bao bun with carrot, pickled jalapeño, and cilantro ($12).
What's a brunch -- even a Saturday brunch -- without a benedict? We wouldn't be able to tell you cause the Traymore has a crab cake benedict "sandwich" ($14). In it: crispy porchetta and hearts of palm remoulade.
Lobster and avocado grilled cheese isn't what you'd expect. Served with roasted tomato soup, it's more of a toast topped with cheesy lobster and avocado ($14). It's a perplexing combination of flavors that I'll need to have again before I can decide whether I'm a fan or not.
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SHOW ME HOW
You're probably thinking, who has a filet of fish for brunch? To that I have to say two things. One is that this pan-roasted hogfish ($18) was so well cooked that I'd have it for breakfast, and two is that is goes oh so well with a bloody mary. "This came in yesterday," says Lane. Explains the freshness.
Follow Carla on Twitter @ohcarlucha