The #1 Order To Never Make At A Brunch Spot, According To The Chef
From mimosas and waffles to omelets, eggs benedict, French toast, and avocado toast, brunch is a love-or-hate-it meal packed with classics and filled with no-orders. Like taboo menu items at Italian restaurants, pizza places, and steakhouses, there’s a right way and a wrong way to order at a brunch spot.
Across the country, even the best brunch restaurants serve the familiar fare found at every eggnog eatery. Especially considering how expensive brunch can be, this is one dining period where it pays to be selective—and by that, we mean selecting items that are worth your money.
According to the chefs who cook brunch, and in many cases love brunch, those are the things you simply can’t make for yourself at home. Be it a straightforward frittata, a plate of scrambled eggs, or an overpriced—and often overpriced—slice of avocado toast, the number one order to ever make at a brunch spot is one that’s too easy to justify the cost. No offense to Reese Witherspoon, but the chefs know a little more about what to order at brunch.
In many cases, dishes that are overly basic have different variations of eggs by default. “Egg dishes are very easy to make yourself at home, and are priced at a very high price at any restaurant, or with a healthy profit margin,” explains Greg LopezExecutive chef at the new NOUN Hotel in Norman, Okla. “By ordering anything at a quick-service breakfast joint to make brunch you’re minimizing yourself to a potentially fun experience.”
Instead, he suggests using brunch as an opportunity to be more adventurous with over-the-top stuffed French toast or inventive breakfast sandwiches. “Do your part in making brunch a special meal, not just a socially acceptable breakfast with alcohol.”
For more Asian-influenced ingenuity, prepare for a singular feast at Sunda New Asian. With locations in Chicago and Nashville, Chef brownson ratnawong The brunch menu eschews the standard scrambles and frittatas in favor of longanissa sausage and musubi.
“Restaurants that serve an upscale brunch lean straight toward the classics,” the chef says, citing dishes like eggs Benedict, standard fried chicken and waffles, and avocado toast as examples. “You can find a variety of these pretty much just about anywhere—let’s spice it up!”
A prime example, he does exactly that with his Japanese Fried Chicken and Ube Waffles, served with karaage-style fried chicken with purple yams in tempura waffle batter and syrup. “It’s different because it’s a lighter coat of batter than traditional frying, plus we use seasonings we make. Then the matcha green tea is dusted on top!”
Another radically basic egg dish worth avoiding is Corned Beef Hash. according to this Tony Marches, owner of TRIO in Palm Springs. Why? More often than not, he says corned beef usually isn’t crispy enough, it’s too pulpy, and the eggs are cold when the dish comes to the table. If you’re after a meaty brunch entree, he recommends opting for something like TRIO’s Short Rib Sandwich.
Be it a blah plate of eggs or an oversaturated stack of avocado toast (“overplayed and overhyped for too long”), Chris Arelanes Prefer brunch items that offer something different. “I personally enjoy preparing a classic brunch dish and adding a unique spin,” says executive chef of KYU in New York City, such as with their signature brunch item, Thai Spiced Waffles, or White Soy Crme Fraiche. King Crab Scramble. “There are so many more unique options for a brunch adventure, especially when you’re trying to convince your girlfriends to wean off their forever boring keto diet!”
Whether it’s the King Crab Scramble or the Ub Waffle, robert guimond Brooklyn’s camp of public displays of affection has another cook who cleans up dishes that would be all too easy to replicate at home. “If I’m going out in the morning to spend $14 on some eggs with some other stuff, the other stuff has better components that aren’t easily prepared at home, like hollandaise or fresh bread or hash with a variety of vegetables. .” Or, as in PDAs, brunch dishes cooked in a wood-fired oven. “The wood oven makes everything delicious, and most people in New York don’t have it in their home kitchen.”
That being said, don’t go too wild with your non-basic egg orders. “I’m all for crazy brunch foods! I think brunch meals are what eaters really want to eat, but limit yourself to once or twice a week,” says Taylor Kearney, corporate chef of Harwood Hospitality Group in Dallas. “However, the only thing I wouldn’t do is go crazy over your egg order.” As someone with years of experience cooking brunch, he says there’s some merit to keeping it simple, too. “I’ve heard everything from ‘Poached Medium’ to ‘Over Easy Plus. Just know, when you order something like this, the whole kitchen laughs.”
braden wages More of a brunch purist, so if you only have eggs for the occasion, order them right. “When it comes to brunch, respect the eggs,” says the chef/owner of Dallas-based Malai Kitchen. For him, that means never ordering eggs well done (“eggs done well will ruin almost any dish”), and never ordering scrambled eggs as an over-easy or poached egg. should not be substituted for.
“It’s almost always going to be the highlight when it’s perfectly cooked,” he says, pointing to the chicken and egg concoction on his brunch menu. “The egg comes poached and when the yolk is mixed, it’s one of the most luxurious and comforting ways to start your day.”
At the end of the day, and at the end of the weekend brunch crowd, the menu items to avoid are standard dishes that aren’t worth your money—the key difference between home cooking and restaurant food. “I know chefs must hate brunch. But I love it,” Guimonde says. “There’s something about tickets with walk-in 12-tops and 30 revisions that makes me feel alive. That’s cooking in the restaurant.”