by Trey Moran
I had the pleasure of sampling the upcoming brunch menu at Maggiano’s Little Italy at Northpark this past weekend and from what they presented it should be a hit. I’m not much for the big chain restaurants but I have always enjoyed Maggiano’s. The food is always on point and there is always an energetic atmosphere. And it is always a good place to end up after hiking Northpark all day.
Upon arrival we were directed to one of the private bar rooms where there were a few brunch cocktail selectes to try. Mimosas, belinis and an Italian Bloody Mary which had a nice flavor from the blend of herbs and basil. Chef Jeff Hanak presented us with an orange streusel cake to start off. It was light, slightly sweet and a nice beginning.
Benedicts will be a big part of the new menu. Crab cake, meatball with roasted tomato, smoked salmon, traditional and another that is a play on chicken and waffles. We sampled the meatball and crab cake versions. My favorite was the crab cake. The lump crab went very well with the hollandaise sauce and it seemed surprisingly light. They are very proud of the hollandaise they are serving, and should be. It was incredibly delicious. The chef that is preparing these honed his skills at Commanders Palace under Paul Prudhomme so he should know a thing or two about hollandaise.
We were treated to a demonstration of how they make Lemon Ricotta Pancakes. Just a few simple ingredients turned out a light, fluffy and wonderfully lemony pancake. These did not need syrup, and to be honest syrup just masked the lemon flavor. A little fruit and freshly whipped cream on top was perfect.
There will be several other traditional brunch items, which will be given an Italian twist. We sampled a vegetable frittata and crème brulee’ French toast which is served with Nueske bacon.
And who doesn’t like brunch?