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Katie Davis

@PopCultureCuisine

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Not All That Jazz

Tuesday, March 15, 2011 @ 07:03 AM

198Breakfast is a favorite meal for many, but I have to say that on most days, although I love to eat it, my breakfast probably wouldn’t be very exciting to many.  I try to eat pretty healthy 90% of the time and so my typical breakfast usually is focused around fruit, yogurt, and cereal or bagels (always with Peanut Butter!)

That being said, I do love myself the typical All-American breakfast; I just tend to save it for when we’re out like Sunday after church or on vacations.  On many of our travels we often tend not to make breakfast all that an important of a meal, unless we there happens to be a HAVE-TO notorious type breakfast spot we’ve learned about from pop culture or seen on one of our favorite food shows. This next spot falls into that category. Adam and I knew that on our trip to New Orleans last May, there was one spot that was a breakfast MUST!  Our friends Garrett and Audra (who were accompanying us) are die-hard fans of a very historical spot that is world renowned for their jazz brunch. Of course, I’m referring to the famous Brennan’s…, a spot that although we knew was exorbitantly expensive, we would likely need to try just for posterity’s sake.

Since 1946, Brennan’s has been serving the patrons of New Orleans original creations for breakfast and dinner, although it seems their breakfast is what has really set them apart…especially their seemingly never-ending list of Eggs Benedict.  It has received accolades from countless food critics and publications, such as Bon Appetit magazine, and you can find it all over the food television scene. At the end of the day, Brennan’s is probably one of the most famous restaurants in the French Quarter.  As the originator of the Bananas Foster, a main feature at their Jazz Breakfast, one would be hard pressed not to ever have heard of this hot spot.  In fact, on our first trip to the quarter, Adam and I stepped in to look at the menu, but agreed that $70 or more is a bit hefty to pay for breakfast.  However, as I mentioned, this last time around our friends had raved about it so much that we relented and decided we’d see what it was all about.

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Due to their popularity, we decided it would be best to make a reservation for the morning we were heading out of town. However, they are SO popular that we were only able to get a reservation for 8:30 a.m., perhaps a bit earlier than any of us were hoping, but we went with it.

I hate to admit that I wasn’t feeling all that stellar that particular morning…, I assume a mixture of the previous day’s festivities, all the rich foods we had been eating, and a little too much fun the night before left me wishing I could just have some pancakes and toast, but I knew I needed to buck up and really give this place a chance.  So after we were seated and perused the menu, which is very extensive I might add, we all ordered our own variety of Eggs Benedict; and when I say variety…I mean it. They all come with some sort of appetizer of your choice, a main dish, and THEN dessert.  All I can say is this ain’t any ol’ milk and cereal.

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To be honest, the whole experience is pretty impressive. However, unfortunately that is about where it ended…at least for the Davis party (I know Audra, I’m sorry!).  I just wasn’t all that excited about any of the dishes, especially my main dish…, “Eggs Bayou LaFourche,” an Andouille Sausage Eggs Benedict.  I quickly learned that I do not like that (although Adam did dig into it later he liked it so much); and while I enjoyed a few bites of my baked apple appetizer, I thought it was a bit overdone and mushy, and therefore melted that whipped cream way too much.  Finally, the other bookend of my meal, their famous ‘Bananas Foster,’ I also thought was too mushy. Let’s just say that I’ve had better elsewhere.  Sorry…I don’t mean to sound like a downer, I just didn’t think this meal was that exciting for $70.

Both Garrett and Audra seemed to enjoy the meals very much. After all, this place is one of their all time favorites. But Adam agreed…, although his Turtle Soup (and Bananas Foster) were ok, he’s had much better at other places, and he really didn’t like his “Eggs Nouvelle Orleans.” A version of eggs benedict that is poached eggs served on a bed of lump crabmeat topped with a brandy-cream sauce. One thing is for sure…, we both DEFINITELY felt it was not worth what we paid for it.

Again, I apologize to our friends, because I know how much they love Brennan’s, but we just weren’t impressed, even though I do consider it a must have experience. In the end, I really did want to enjoy this jazz breakfast and I did from the experience itself…, I just was not impressed in the slightest with the food….which let’s be honest is the main point.

SIGNATURE DISH: Brennan’s is known widely for their jazz breakfast, which includes many dishes that are cajun inspired, and they have become very popular for their many interpretations on Eggs Benedict. However, where they do stand apart is they were the creators of the ‘Bananas Foster,’ which to have that as a claim to fame, I would say is pretty “signature.”

TASTE: I just wasn’t overly impressed with any of the dishes I ordered, bananas foster included.  It could have been my palette that morning, but none of it came close to over-the-top wowing me. The worst is that my standards aren’t high for breakfast, so that made it even more of a let down.

AMBIANCE: This was one area I really did enjoy.  Their location on Royal Street, right in the heart of the French Quarter, truly is a beautiful landmark.  With its very classic décor and beautiful courtyard, it is no wonder that folks flock here to get a reservation.  I know I certainly enjoyed the surroundings very much, and was all just enough to make the visit memorable.

SERVICE: This is another area that helped the visit. Our team of waiters were all extremely kind and helpful, a feature of Brennan’s which I’m sure anyone can expect upon a visit, which I would suppose you would expect for the price.

PRICE: This is the MAJOR bone of contention I keep coming back to and maybe why I had a sour taste in my mouth to begin with.  $70 per person or so for breakfast is SIMPLY OUTRAGEOUS!!! I really don’t know what else to say. There is no way that ANY breakfast can demand that much.  Even if you are picking the most extravagant and most unique dish they offer, there is no way it warrants this price.  Look…, I could go to one of the most expensive steak houses and get a full meal for less than that; and I know a lot of people will pay this because of the entire experience, but I just don’t think it was worth it.

I have mentioned before, this blog is simply my humble opinion.  I don’t claim to know everything there is to know about food, nor would I ever expect you to take my word as fact.  I am simply giving you my take on these “famous” spots and my honest thoughts about them as a "normal" patron.  This is why the food and dining experience is so wonderful…, it really is subjective; so while I did not really enjoy Brennan’s, I can guarantee you there are many who have and will.  So although it will be a tough sell to get me back to Brennan’s in my lifetime (especially with all the other choices in the Crescent City) feel free to take my two cents and go and experience it for yourself.  I always welcome a happy discussion. Winking smile

But in my case, I would have to give Brennan’s 1 ½ ‘Little Piggies’….that’s nearly $100 per Piggy! Man… dem’s some expensive Piggies!

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