Burch: Hardest working brunch in the business

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Pasta for breakfast? Yes, please. Crab linuine with snow crab, carrot juice, chili and lime.

While brunch has approached cult status among 20- and 30-somethings for its boozy "Sunday Funday" weekend-extending properties, all that egg, pastry, and cured pork cooking still rarely reaches fine-dining heights. Most of us are content with even the mediocrity of the buffet — especially if it's all you can eat. Hey, if it can't be great, at least they can give us as much of it as we want, right?  

But at Burch Steakhouse, the wizardry of chefs Isaac Becker and Daniel del Prado is making its way to daytime classics, and a few things you didn't even know existed, because they haven't until now. Brunch at Burch could be a game-changing way to dine — put on your finery for eating on the sunny side of life instead of by night. Yes, save your ducats and drinking calories for Sunday. It'll be worth it.

While many good restaurants offer a stellar, tight brunch menu — seven or eight items composed cunningly of Saturday's menu "with an egg on it" plus gotta-have-it pancakes, French toasts, and elaborations on bacon – Burch has gone much further. The menu of over 25 items, not including pastries and a la carte items, could easily carry a restaurant in its own right.

Just as Birch is defined loosely as a steakhouse but is in actuality so much more than that — a pizzeria, a dumpling house, a Wagyu beef dealer, a crudo bar, an Italian restaurant, and lots of other things too, so is the brunch its very own animal with precious little of the same old stuff you've come to expect from Sunday's first meal. 

Case in point: Taleggio skins, where the rind from the famed Italian stinky yet mild on the palate cheese are tossed into a deep fryer and crisped up like a cheese curd and garnished with herb and chile. 

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The sleek open kitchen at Burch is even more gleaming in the daytime.

Or a playful take on potato cakes that make it so you don't ever have to cruise surreptitiously through the Arby's drive thru ever again. They're even served with Heinz, the way God and everybody intended. They're crisp, dense, and addictive.

The kitchen treats eggs with the elegance they deserve, draping them over a rustic grilled bread that's been padded with lush crab meat, lemony beurre blanc, and a little spinach for good measure. It's one of the best brunch dishes anywhere, and also one of the nicest things to eat that we've had in any category, all year. 

We love it that, while the Midas touch is in full effect, they've not missed a chance to have fun with The Things People Really Like To Eat. Take the fried chicken sandwich on the tenderest biscuit in town, served alongside a little soupçon of heady chicken, veal, and bacon gravy.

 

And not missing an opportunity to pay homage to Italy, their take on a cacio e pepe, not with pasta but instead with eggs, is an exquisite soft scramble bombarded with fresh Parmesan and black pepper. Add fried oysters for five bucks. Just do it.

Naturally, all these solids deserve some liquids, and a unique cocktail list threatens to turn this refined event into one of those boozy Sundays if you don't pace yourself. The Watermelon Wakeup put us in a mindset to find a porch swing somewhere, and a blood orange mimosa lends a bitter edge to the girly morning libation. The Tomatillo Bloody Mary (also see: three other varieties in the Caesar, the Smoky, and the Classic) and a Bellini are also highly recommendable.

Other things that warrant attention: a congee with dates, raisins, honeycomb, and coconut; a Wagyu beef cheeseburger; a bright and acidic shrimp roll on brioche with house pickles that brings new meaning to the dish; fish & chips; shrimp etouffee; and a pfannkuchen with roasted shiitake mushrooms, caraway mayo, and a fried egg! 

The really notable thing about all of this is rarely does a menu of this magnitude and breadth succeed at these heights, much less during the morning meal when simpler dishes would likely satisfy.

So, for all of your daytime celebrations — the wedding and baby showers, the graduations and birthdays and milestones — this is the place. But perhaps more importantly, to put a little shine on an otherwise plebeian Sunday Funday, infuse a little class into your ordinary life. Sundays at Burch could, and should, become a gold-standard classic.

Sunday brunch: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

Burch Restaurant

1933 Colfax Ave. S., Minneapolis 

612-843-1515

burchrestaurant.com 


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