Sunday, June 22, 2008

Eating Past the Point of Enlightenment: Rowland Brunch

When Rowland Fine Dining announced that they were starting a Sunday brunch service, I felt like I needed to try it out ASAP, before it got overrun with foodies. I mean, Rowland's dinners have been pretty awesome in my experience. Brunch would probably be stellar as well. Well, weeks passed without my paying a visit and I haven't heard a peep about the Rowland brunch. Until today...

At about noon, Karen and I walked up to Rowland, with Jasper in tow. We were braced for a throng of diners. To our amazement, the place was empty, save three tables. We got a secluded corner booth/table and started looking over the menu. Maybe I shouldn't have had a preconception in my head, but I was a little disappointed with the lack of egg dishes on the menu. You know that list of fancy sounding food that comes along side the egg/french toast section of the brunch menu? The Rowland menu is mostly that stuff (more on that in a bit). However, right off the bat, we were served three great surprises that made us swoon and will surely bring me back.

Surprise # 1: Lavazza coffee. By noontime on Sunday, I NEED coffee. This stuff was strong and smooth Italian brew and it was refilled three times during my meal (for $1.50).

Surprise # 2: Instead of bread or biscuits, every table got a plate of mini banana nut muffins dusted with powdered sugar. Sublime, with the coffee. Virginia Rowland is known for her deserts and it showed with these light and tasty treats. We'll be back for more, but as bakers like to try different things, I wouldn't be surprised to find another flavor next time.

Surprise # 3: I asked to start with a side: Potato latke with scallion creme fresh. For four bucks, this thing was bigger and tastier than it had any right to be. AND, here were my eggs. It looked like any shredded potato pancake with a dollop of creamy stuff in the middle, but the texture was very eggy and the potatoes were undercooked to perfection, just the right amount of crunch, and the seasoning... I dunno what it was, but please give me more. Jewish treats like these willl make me happily convert.

By this point, we had about reached nirvana. The satisaction we experienced was that euphoric (probably cuz the baby was still asleep). And we hadn't even been served our entrees. Maybe this is how Buddha got so fat, eating past the point of enlightenment. Speaking of knowledge, the list of entrees was unfamiliar brunch territory for me: mostly southern and cajun accented dishes. I was tempted by the shrimp po boy and the butterbean cakes. Karen was on the verge of ordering the skillet fried chicken with summer squash casserole (and pan gravy). Ultimately we steered toward the seafood; BBQ shrimp over creamy polenta and tuna cakes with pico de gallo.

Do those things sound fancy? Well, the fine-ness of the dining is mostly in the accents. Fried egg and prosciutto sandwich with pomme frites, apple wood bacon, Mongolian hangar steak. We'll see how they rotate their menu when we head back. By the way, the shrimps were good, slathered in a cajun gravy that was an interesting take on BBQ sauce. The tuna cakes were filled out with some corn and rice and surrounded by a crunchy crust. On top, was a very fresh salad of toms, diced red onions and jalapeno slivers (pico de gallo, but tastier, as the menu described).

Obviously, the highlights for us were the first three rounds. I don't think we'd go for those two entrees again, but we had plenty of other interests on the menu. Oh, and they do serve french toast, as it turns out. If you're smart, you'll split an entree, pile on the sides, and save room for desert.

Rowland Fine Dining is located at Main Street and Shields. Brunch goes from 10-3 on Sundays and entrees range from $7:50-13. They've also got some cute looking patio tables out front that you might like to try.


  1. What's that you say? Why yes, it can be tiring to wait for 45 minutes for a cramped table at Millie (but it's also kinda fun). Word hasn't gotten out yet about Rowland's on Sundays, according to my server. I'd say the same about Bacchus. Good point, imaginary commenter. Please come again!

  2. britt8:36 AM

    just came by to say this post made my mouth water, got a kick out of your comment. PLEASE don't stop blogging about food, though i can understand a good existential crisis.

  3. Oh goodie, another place for brunch. Thanks for the tip! And yes, I think they do great dinners!

  4. Anonymous6:03 PM

    My wife and I went there this past Sunday...AMAZING!! Lucky for me, they were out of their usual steak that was on the brunch menu, and so they substituted Filet for it!! And it was grilled perfectly! My wife had the chicken and squash casserole, and the casserole was actually the best we had ever had! (I stole a few bites) There was a breading on top that was better than candy! A great place to eat and yes, there were only 3 other couples it was nice and quiet. What a great area to live in! The Fan has the best food!


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