Happiness is brunchiness. And it starts with a mimosa.
Sometimes I’ll shake things up just a little by asking for grapefruit juice instead of orange. At brunch, I stick to the bubbles.
But the Blvd Tavern, the newly opened Crossroads gastropub (320 Southwest Blvd.), offers up the kind of brunch cocktails that make a girl want to try something new.
It’s rare I see staples like bloody mary and mimosa as last picks on the menu. The star of their show is clearly the Reboot ($8), a tall glass of El Dorado rum cream, toasted almond syrup, bitter chocolate liqueur and Oddly Correct Hop Toddy served on ice.
I knew my friend B, a coffee addict, would love it. So we ordered her one. I took one sip and immediately asked for another taste of this iced coffee goodness. It’s hard to detect alcohol at all. It’s more like a summertime latte with just the right amounts of sugar and cream.
You can thank the bartender, Courtney the charmer, for this winner. She says it works on hangovers. I say it works, period. I’d order this at brunch, lunch, dinner and happy hour. As Courtney told us, “Everything in moderation, including moderation.” I like her style.
My brunchy drink was the Morning After ($7), a mix of Pimm’s No. 1, ginger elixir, strawberries, mint, lime and Topo Chico. In a word: refreshing. This is spring in a glass — minty and sweet, with a crisp bite. We did a lot of passing drinks at my table — both of us realizing one sip of these concoctions wasn’t enough. These are the kind of cocktails that demand you come back.
The atmosphere is easygoing and casual cool. Lots of wood and brick everywhere in this lofty space where the lights stay low. When the weather behaves, a patio awaits. It’s total pub style, and we sat there enjoying songs by Johnny Cash and the Band. The drinks were just stout enough that I almost sang along to “Angie” by the Rolling Stones. Almost.
Blvd Tavern didn’t stop there with pushing me out of my comfort zone. I like French toast, pancakes with whipped cream, cinnamon rolls. This pub is not about that sweet life. The closest thing you’ll get is the Heirloom Corn Johnny Cakes ($10). Basically, it’s like cornbread ate a pancake. I didn’t think I would like it, but blueberries, blueberry maple syrup and a side of Burgers’ country cured bacon made me change my mind. The cakes are crispy, and the corn is just candy enough. I’m a fan.
But my fork still wandered into B’s plate of shrimp and grits ($16). Only a good friend understands your need to get at least one bite of those Anson Mills cheddar grits, wild-caught shrimp and bacon. What a buttery, savory delight.
I still got my dessert fix, though. The skillet-baked chocolate chip cookie ($7) topped with buttermilk ice cream will pacify any sweet tooth. It only took two spoons, two people and four bites. Unlike everything else we tasted, this deep-dish cookie could not be finished. We would need two other people to wade through this chocolate decadence.
We’ll be back to defeat the cookie and drink more cocktails, Blvd Tavern. We’ll be back.
Brunch at Blvd Tavern
Blvd Tavern, 320 Southwest Blvd., serves brunch from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
The bar is open 11 a.m. to midnight Tuesday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to midnight Sunday. BlvdTavernKC.com