Yesterday, before heading back up to campus, my father, grandmother and I decided to have a little brunch at Noah's in Stonington, CT. I've been going to Noah's for years, but this was my first time reviewing it on the site.
As it was, we were lucky to be able to have our choice off the brunch menu, which we gladly accepted. Noah's is famous in the area for having fantastic brunch dishes. My favorite thing about brunch is the delicate balance between salty and sweet, like the deciding factor between good and evil. Which one were we going to choose?
Since my Bubbi opted for blueberry pancakes, I decided to go in the other direction entirely and order the portuguese baked eggs with linguica, onions, peppers, and farmer's cheese. The linguica and farmer's cheese were two meat and dairy items I'd never had the privy to eat in an egg based dish and was interested to see how the texture would play out. And that being said, you can never really go wrong with sausage and peppers, right? With that, I ordered a side of their homefries, well done. My father ordered the homemade sausage with grits and egg whites.
The blueberry pancakes are a delicious standard of Noah's, and one can never really go wrong with them. They're fluffy and not too airy on the inside. However, when one advertises blueberry pancakes, it's important to note that they're supposed to be blueberry in nature. Unless there's a severe embargo of blueberries at Noah's, it was important to note that the blueberry to pancake ratio was a little vague in these pancakes yesterday. I just think that there ought to have been more fruit. I also thought that the texture, though airy, was a little boring, and because of the soft, mushiness of the blueberries while cooking, it might have been integral to add a buffer to all that softness, like cornmeal. That being said, they're certainly not bad pancakes at all. With the addition of the natural maple syrup and a little honey butter, they make a substantial breakfast when eaten in threes.My father had the sausage with grits and eggs, and I was excited to try that, being that it was housemade. I can't vouch for the plate's beauty, because it was really a colorless affair. I think that a lot of that was my father's fault, because he did order all egg whites, but I wish that they'd ground pepper on them or put some parsley to make the plate look a little less bland. The sausage was a very thick piece and, though a little stringy, was a very hearty addition to the eggs and grits and should definitely be used in more of Noah's dishes, say, a breakfast sandwich, perhaps?
As for the grits and eggs, they were more of a sideliner to the sausage, and having had grits before, I was excited to see that these were large pearls of hominy, but when I tasted them, they were bland and gummy, resembling nothing more than white rice with a little binder. Spices, Noah's, use spices! They go such a long way for color. The sausage was a boon later on with the leftover blueberry pancake, and it was a comfortably hearty bite to eat with the fruit. I feel that the sausage was the firmness I was looking for to counteract the blueberries in the musings above, so perhaps the two paired together would work well. That being said, I'm an advocate for anything sweet and savory in a breakfast dish.My dish was a hit around the entire table. It came in a lovely little casserole dish, and I figured that I'd eat the entire thing. Little did I know that halfway through I'd throw in the gauntlet. A deceptively deep and filling dish, the Portuguese baked eggs were a delightful surprise. With each bite, I found myself mashing up the yolks and searching for linguica and onion pieces to complete the portion. The dish screamed breakfast, but when I closed my eyes, all the scents were incredibly Italian. The peppers were condensed in baking to a fine, stewed form, and released a sweet liquid in the process, making the dish a little soupier than I might have liked. However, after letting it settle down and seize up, (I have a bad habit of eating my food in its most molten form) it got a little more solidified.
Happily notable, though, was the cheese, which didn't seem to follow the same space-time continuum as the rest of the dish. It just didn't congeal. It was melty and gooey and came off in perfect curds, not strands, and mixed into the oil and was perfect. All this was lovely, and then, I came to the yolks of the eggs. Up to this point hereforth, I was under the impression that the eggs were integrated into this wonderfully bucolic little explosion that I'd been eating, but apparently, I'd just been stuffing myself with the appetizer portion. And there they were.
I swear, the yolks in these were monsters. I think they might have been all yolks. Had these been allowed to ferment, I have no doubt in my mind that the chicks would have pulled a Zeus and eaten their way out of their parent. And they were cooked just the way I like them, which is, perfectly hard and solidified, to the point of being hardboiled. However, there is such a concept as "too much of a good thing," and in the case of the yolks, I was only able to eat a little bit, mashing it up with the rest of my concoction and spreading it on the toast. A brunch addict's pâté, if you will. And a lovely one at that. The egg yolk did add a wonderful binding agent to the rest of the spread and a great, buttery taste, but I'm afraid the amount was just quite too much. The potatoes were a fantastic addition to the dish, and were really buttery and garlicky on the bottom where they were charred, and the crispiness yielded to a fluffy and soft inside that required no extraneous salt and pepper. Lovely to eat with the eggs.Brunch being immensely satisfying, we then moved onto a mutual dessert, the chocolate bourbon pecan pie. My mother makes a pie similar to this, and I've had variations on the theme, but the basic idea is gooey pecan pie with a layer of every addiction possible. If they put shavings of truffle and weed on this, it would require a waiver and a twelve step program.
The pie is more rustic than the others that I've had, with whole pecan halves and giant chunks of chocolate, and pecan goo to stick it all together, and the crust is dense and buttery. It's a good pie. The texture can be off-putting if your mouth isn't the size of a Titan's, but overall, it's a hell of a comfort food. The homemade whipped cream doesn't hurt, either.Noah's Restaurant
113 Water Street, Stonington, CT 0637o
Labels: 6, 7, 8, 9, breakfast, dessert, lunch, restaurant