Brunch at 101 Beer Kitchen
When it opened a year and a half ago, 101 Beer Kitchen conjured up a special kind of alchemy: The stylish gastropub served refined food with a big beer selection in a family-friendly setting in the suburbs. They're now working the same magic with brunch: You can bring your drinking buddies for a stiff hair-of-the-dog cocktail, or bring the little ones for well-thought-out kids' meals served on fun lunchroom trays. Here are a few highlights:
Starters: Why don't more places have breakfast appetizers? 101 Beer Kitchen's Pigs in a Blanket should be required eating. The juicy, smoky bacon-cheddar brat from Nueske's is wrapped in puff-pastry dough and accompanied by fresh greens and a sweet mustard sauce. We also enjoyed the Scotch Breakfast Eggs, a fun morning twist on the bar favorite, made with breakfast sausage, cornflake breading and maple icing.
Entrees: If you're hungry (or hungover), I recommend the rich and hearty Southwest Style Biscuits and Gravy. A big plate of cornbread (no biscuits) is smothered in thick, meaty chorizo gravy, corn, peppers and a yolky sunnyside-up egg. A little lighter but no less satisfying is the Blackened Shrimp and Corn Cakes. Two savory pancakes are topped with grilled shrimp and a sweet yogurt sauce, and accompanied by a fresh and tangy watermelon salad.
Cocktails: Yeah, it's the most important drink of the day (on weekends, anyway). If you stumble in half asleep, the super-spicy 101 Bloody Mary with pepper-infused vodka will get your attention. We also tried it with regular vodka and it was still plenty hot (plus, a tip of the hat for the cheese-pepper-pepperoni garnish). On the other end of the Scoville scale is the excellent Bloody Maria. Fueled by tequila and 101's green tomatillo base, the cool drink is a bright and refreshing eye-opener.
101 Beer Kitchen serves brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays.