Just like Happy Hours, brunch is making a big comeback across the country, surging in popularity and serving up diners a myriad of choices.
It's happening nationally, and it's certainly playing out here in Kanasas City. I have no numbers to back this up, but to my culinary eye, the brunch choices here have never been more varied or prevalent.
Here, I've picked four brunches to profile, starting with the Ameristar Casino, a casual a la carte brunch with some nice twists on the cuisine and the cocktails at The 75th Street Brewpub, and two more upscale versions at Gram and Dun and Story. There's a lot of food, and a lot of information to discuss, so I thought it best to break this up into two articles. Today's looks at the offerings at The Ameristar and 75th Street.
Ameristar offers a daily buffet along with their other restaurant offerings, so serving up a boatload of different options on a regular basis is old hat for them. Their weekend brunches are especially popular.
"I see brunch trends following the local food trends that already exist, using fresh, local, and sustainable ingredients," Executive Chef Jerrold Brooks told me. "I also see brunch getting more creative than the past by offering modern trends and techniques to classic favorites like savory waffles and pancakes. Also, using local farmed eggs and vegetables in omelet stations."
The Ameristar breaks up its brunch choices into five culinary stations, so there are a lot of choices. Books says on an average three-day weekend, the Ameristar will do over 3500 covers in the buffet. My favorites are the dim sum from the Oriental station, the pizza from the Italian area, and the desserts, oh my gosh, the desserts! So many choices, so little time!
The Ameristar brunch has long been one of my favorites and a guilty pleasure. Brooks is more pragmatic about it.
"I don’t mind brunches. They have a high profit margin, and it’s not an all-day affair,” he said.
Moving south to another long-time favorite, I checked out the brunch offerings at the 75th Street Brewpub. I asked Corporate Executive Chef for KC Hops, Ryan Sneed, for an overview.
"We offer a full menu of American classics with breakfast and lunch items on Saturday and Sunday. We serve large portions at a lower price than our normal dinner menu. We offer a range of savory to sweet. There is something for everyone, including the kids! We use local ingredients when possible, but certainly the best available ingredients at all times of the year," Sneed said.
I have to admit, I'm kind of a sucker for buffets. It goes back to my childhood where a trip to the Smorgasburg maybe every other month on a weekend was a huge treat. But, I also have to say there's something really nice about tailoring your brunch choices, and, for me anyway, having a better-controlled intake experience.
My wife ordered a Spanish frittata, my daughter, the California omelet, while I opted for wood-grilled steak and eggs. I love steak and eggs, but I especially enjoyed the wood-grilled nature of the steak, a flavor I don't get the chance to savor very often. I wasn't sure I'd like the Beermosa, 75th Street's signature cocktail, a mimosa made with Belgium Wit beer instead of Champagne, but it was light and citrusy, and I quite enjoyed it.
For dessert, the ladies split a huge cinnamon roll, which was big enough for four. All in all, I'd give the brunch at 75th Street Brewpub a big thumbs up!
Stay tuned for the next brunch installment, which reviews the options at Gram & Dun and Story.