N/W Train to 30th Avenue
If you're a loyal Sweet Afton fan, you've probably noticed the signs annoucing that "Brunch is Coming Soon." This past Sunday, they had a friends and family first run and I was lucky to be invited. If this was just their first shot at it, you have a major treat coming your way - simple but great dishes that are hearty enough for the cold winter months, and packed with tons of flavor.
Sweet Afton Breakfast Burger - Sweet Afton is known for an excellent quality burger on a regular basis, so we knew we couldn't go wrong with the breakfast version. Three out of five people in our party couldn't resist it, Dan being one of them. I had a bite of it and my eyes lit up. The flavors exploded in my mouth - the smooth, savory egg, the hearty bite of the medium-well burger, the zest from the tomatoes and Brooklyn pickles, and the fluffy country white bun that held all of it together. Taking a bite was no easy feat, as the burger was huge, but I guarantee that if you get it, you won't need to eat lunch or can get by on a small dinner.
Irish Breakfast Roll - Although we were initially put off by this because of non-traditional ingredients such as black pudding, it turned out to be my favorite dish--the black pudding being the most divine thing in it. Black pudding is actually sausage that reminds me of a breakfast meat we eat in Slovakia called jaternica, but Sweet Afton's version was softer and the meat flavor more pronounced. It all went together beautifully, with the Irish sausage (similar to American breakfast sausage but better), Irish bacon and a fried egg. Just like the burger, this is a very filling meal that will keep you satisfied for most of the day.
Organic Scrambled Eggs - Eggs are still my favorite food to brunch on and that's why I chose this dish. It came presented beautifully in a cast iron skillet, with a side of pullman toast and a soft grilled tomato. I chose the "loaded" version of this dish, incorporating yummy bits of bacon, scallions and Irish cheddar. While I couldn't taste the cheese, the bacon was delightful, giving the eggs more substance. We ended up getting a side of baked beans too and I mixed them with the eggs, thus creating a great combination.
The Drinks - To not touch upon the inventive brunch cocktails would be a crime, for Sweet Afton's menu incorporated some of the most interesting breakfast concoctions I've ever seen. The coolest--and tastiest--by far was the Oatmeal Martini with oatmeal infused vodka, maple syrup and raisin puree. It tasted like a comforting bowl of oatmeal with a kick--and it was almost like eggnog towards the bottom. I liked that there were real raisins in it, but overall the drink was very smooth and went down easy.
Other creative drinks we tried were the Blueberry Muddle and the Elderflower. The blueberry drink tasted like a breakfast mojito - again, fresh and light enough to be digested for breakfast but with a welcome spike from the gin. The Elderflower was a Mimosa raised to the nth level, including gin, Saint Germain, fresh lemon juice, bits of cucumber and champagne. The cucumber taste was fresh and cooling and a perfect way to start any Sunday. I highly recommend it!
Also wanted to share Dan's 2 cents about the Bloody Mary, as he proclaimed it "the best I've ever had." It was incredibly strong and zingy, the flavors making the tastebuds sing, especially the sour flavor from the pickle juice. Talk about hair of the dog - yowza!
Service and Cost:
As always, the service was excellent. Our waitress Rebecca was very attentive and so patient with us when we asked her to explain basically everything on the menu. I was very impressed by the knowledge she possessed about obscure ingredients, especially the black pudding. If you're lucky enough to get Rebecca as your server, you'll be in great hands.
Costs are reasonable with most dishes in the low teens. Cocktails are more expensive ($8-$9) than the customary brunch drink but know that they are truly special and absolutely worth it.