You’re probably feeling celebratory this holiday season because, let’s face it, how can you not when it's cold up north and you are deciding whether to don the blue or pink flip-flops back home? So brunch at Big City Tavern Restaurant and Bar (609 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale) seems the logical choice.
First off, you get to sit with the cool kids. All of them. You know, once they’ve grown up and maybe had a kid of their own. The crowd at this Big Time Restaurant Group eatery is energized and youthful. They come for the unlimited mimosas (with the purchase of any entrée) that arrive at the table in a beer pitcher and are poured into tall wine glasses. The bloody mary is the same unlimited deal. But the drink to try now, especially during this particularly sweltering Florida winter, is the Frosé, a one-of-a-kind refreshing cocktail made with rosé wine, vodka, and strawberry-infused syrup — a nod to winter with a happy, summery spin.
If someone tells you they offer a doughnut-of-the-day, you should marry them. Now. Don’t think about it. If it’s a restaurant, do the next best thing and order the damn treat. Big City Tavern offers just that, and today, lucky for me, the special was a maple-bacon delight. The doughnut arrived warm, with caramelized bits of applewood bacon sprinkled on top.
Or go for the banana bread with pecan butter, another jackpot. It came with a miniature serving of homemade apricot jam, which was so tangy and aromatic it could have been its very own dish had it come with a minuscule spoon. Follow that with some protein (so Mom knows you’re taking good care of yourself) like the prosciutto and avocado toast with a sunny-side up egg, served on the restaurant’s grilled country bread. The crab cakes eggs Benedict, two fresh jumbo lump crab cakes with perfectly poached eggs and a coating of citrus-infused béarnaise sauce, should arrive with its own take-home photo so you can stare at that when you miss it later on.
There are classic buttermilk pancakes, blueberry pancakes, and Belgian waffles if you are more of a traditionalist who likes to keep things nice and simple. But if you want to take your mouth on an extra joy ride, go for the roasted apple butter waffle, which comes with mascarpone, candied pecans, and a healthy serving of spiced, roasted apple butter proudly decorating the heart of the whole dish. Nutella addicts will get their needs met with the banana Nutella french toast, French toast under a generous drizzle of hazelnut spread followed by slices of fresh bananas. All of these come with warm Vermont maple syrup to keep the party going.
More of a lunch-brunch person? The breakfast burger, a ten-ounce, handpacked patty with egg, Vermont cheddar, and bacon, or the breakfast pizza, also with eggs, scallions, hollandaise sauce, and applewood bacon, fit the bill.
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Big City Tavern is packed, from the outdoor patio up front all the way to the larger tables in the back. Women carrying pretty pastel gift bags with overflowing tissue-wrap stream in, looking for their party. Girls dressed as princesses waving star wands drift about with their T-shirt clad, unshaven dads. The buzz is happy and the vibe is fun. We’re not shoveling snow or slipping on ice. Raise a toast here to that.
Big City Tavern Restaurant & Bar. 609 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 954-727-0307; bigcitylasolas.com.
Alona Abbady Martinez lives in Plantation, Florida. She writes about food and family on her blog, Culinary Compulsion,& and is currently working on her book, My Culinary Compulsion, a global food memoir with recipes. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter.