Is low-key brunch an oxymoron?


A reader writes:

Do you have a recommendation for a place to take my mom on her 90th birthday for brunch? Ambiance is important to her, and she loves good food of all types. She is in a wheelchair so it has to be handicapped accessible, also not too noisy.  I thought about Nicollet Island Inn but their brunch is so pricey and she doesn't eat very much. There will be about 6 of us.

As I started to think of great brunches--Good Day Cafe, Zumbro, Jun Bo, Hell's Kitchen, all seemed to fall into the noisy, crying-children, elbow-bumping category--probably not the kind of ambiance someone in her nineties is seeking.

I'm thinking Grand Cafe or Lucia's would tend to be a little lower key, but I haven't had brunch at either in a while, so I can't really say what the crowds are like these days.

My other thought was to try one of the newer hotels downtown--I think locals tend to forget about these places when they think of breakfast/brunch, but they'd be a sophisticated birthday treat. Places like Chambers Kitchen, Cosmos, and Porter & Frye tend to offer breakfasts as elegant as Nicollet's, but they're not nearly as busy and you can order a la carte. One drawback: none can match the pretty views of Nicollet...