Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Brunch at the Clover Club

If the cocktail world has an official brunch place, it's Brooklyn's Clover Club. In the year that it's been in operation, the bar has established itself as the place to dine and drink, at least for those brave souls in this universe who actually get up on Sunday mornings. I've encountered several local bartenders of note who've said they make it a habit of getting their Sunday eye-opener, and some sort of fatty meal, at the Smith Street tavern.

It's taken me this long to finally check out this scene, partly because I despise the concept of brunch, and partly because of a lack of interest on my wife's part (there's little on the seafood-and-pork heavy menu that she can eat). But Father's Day was my trump card. You can't say no to a Daddy's request on a certain Sunday in June, and my wish was to have brunch at Clover Club.

We arrived at opening time, 11 AM. Which was good, because our drink order—a Ramos Gin Fizz for me, a Queen's Park Swizzle for the Missus—was safely the most complex of the morning, and our being the only table about gave the bartender plenty of time to lavish loving care on our drinks. Both came out smashingly well. I do love a Ramos Gin Fizz in the morning. The rest of the tables ordered Bloody Marys and Mimosa variants almost exclusively. (When will people end this self-imposed, two-drink limitation on themselves during the morning hours? I can't think of two drinks that bore me more.)

I began with the Bacon Tasting, because that's what everyone talks about. It's become the brunch's signature dish, and a kind of signal for the sort of culinary decadence you should expect here. Three styles of bacon: maple, black pepper and duck, served on toast.

It was savory good, as expected, though I could have done with less bread and more bacon. (Actually, less bread could be a rally cry for the whole menu. I never lacked for several slices of it.)

From there, I went on to the Baked Eggs With Truffle and Leeks. It's actually truffle butter, and parmesean cheese is in there, too. Very rich, as you might imagine, though it's nicely set off by a light arugula salad on the side. I had no complaints about this dish. The serving seemed on the small side, but it left me completely full.

My wife had an omelette she enjoyed and my son loved the house-made marmalade that came with the baguette (and he doesn't like marmalade). I also liked that you could order a simple egg, for $1.50, made any way you like. Simple is good sometime. And every good old-school bar should make hard-boiled eggs available on request.

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