If you're looking for a brunch that gives you your money's worth in oysters on the half shell, cooked-to-order lamb chops, and booze, then head to Vintro Kitchen & Bar on Sunday.
Chef Keith Suarino has concocted a rustic Mediterranean feast to match the theme at the intimate restaurant inside the boutique hotel pleasantly tucked away on Park and 22nd Street -- just a five-minute walk from the sand and mayhem. Here you'll be able to chill out while overlooking the Collins canal and listening to a live guitarist doing his Spanish thing. The music pairs perfectly with the seafood paella and white sangria. The best part? It's all you can eat, and it costs only $49.
I decided to ride my bike to Vintro Kitchen & Bar thinking I could work off what I'd be eating and drinking. I underestimated the amount of drinks to be consumed. Don't do the same. Learn from my rookie mistake and know that this is a boozy brunch.
Bottomless mimosas, bloody marys, and white wine sangria are proffered for just $15 extra. (This will being your total brunch bill to $64). When compared to almost any other buffet brunch in town, Vintro is the best deal for food and booze combined we've found. Go for the white sangria. It's the winning libation of the three.
The premise here is simple. You sit, and then you get up and do brunch your way. Maybe start off at the chaffing dish station, where all the usual buffet brunch suspects are waiting for you. These include eggs, sausage, bacon, French toast (a must), cauliflower, and Vintro's popular brussel sprouts.
Vintro also has a selection of rotating a la carte items in addition to the elaborate spread. Order up one of the week's eggy creations from the kitchen.
Then continue to the cheese and charcuterie board where salami, turkey, prosciutto, and manchego await. Parmesan and other cheesy wedges are also there.
Bivalve fans will get their money's worth at Vintro's brunch with endless amounts of kumamotos and raspberry points that include bowls of mignonette and horseradish as garnishes. Think about it: oysters are usually $3 a pop. A dozen of the briny fellows usually have you clocking in at around $30 or so (because of the discount you get for the dozen). At Vintro, $49 gets you unlimited slurps of one of the best East Coast and popular West Coast bivalves. On my visit alone, I had around 25. Do the math, or don't and just know you're getting the better end of the bargain here.
Add a couple of tomato and buffalo mozzarella slices to your plate. It doesn't get more Mediterranean than caprese salad.
Actually it does. Seafood paella. Our only complaint is we wished there would have been more shrimp, mussels and clams, but for the price tag of brunch we'll settle with getting up and having multiple servings to get our shellfish fix.
Brunch pastry heaven includes various muffins, danishes, croissants, breads and everything else you might want.
We uncovered a surprise within the pastry table: Spanish tortilla. Suarino's rendition is moist and chunky, just how this Spaniard likes it. Pro tip: ask for hot sauce and slather some on there. You're welcome.
The unlimited oysters are nice and all, but my favorite part of Vintro's brunch -- don't judge me -- was actually this giant tub of marinated olives, which fulfilled my life long ambition of the salty and oily spheres. My dad used to import olives and as a kid, I would steal boxes, eat them in my room, and then hide the bottles and cans under my bed. Again, don't judge me.
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Instant grilling is happening out on the patio. So whether you want lamb chops, chicken thighs, or pork loin to cap off your brunch, you shall have it cooked to order at your desired temperature. May we suggest medium rare (except the chicken)?
Look out over the canal and ponder all that you've just eaten.
Follow Carla on Twitter @ohcarlucha