Westfork: Bottomless Brunch

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Weekend brunch exists, in my estimation, to assuage the appetites of those who have slept in past the breakfast hour and now must hunt down food as quickly as possible to alleviate the hangover. To have brunch on a weekday might be a meal worthy only of derelicts and food writers.

On the other hand, Sunday brunch is often crowded with a more proper set--those stopping between worship service and home. Go figure.

As Fort Worth matures (i.e., feels more comfortable in its hangover haze) it has slowly been coming into its own as a city with brunch spots that provide more than cover for the after church crowd. We cataloged three brunch booze/food spots, trying two savory dishes and a round of cocktails at each.

Taverna by Lombardi (450 Throckmorton Street) sings the siren call with $5 bottomless bellinis and mimosas. Yes, that's highbrow speak for "free refills". Taverna offers a full brunch menu in addition to the standard lunch fare with a strong range of both savory and sweet brunch creations.

West Fork sampled the Eggs Al Forno al Olio Tartufato. As fancy as that sounds, it's a simple and rustic dish--a pair of fried eggs with sausage and breakfast potatoes. The garlic bread base and truffle oil addition gives it the gourmet flair. My dining companion was pleased to tuck into "sausage and eggs" so it met the simplicity test. I picked up on the waft of truffle though and sat quietly sniffing the air every time he lifted a fork. I branched out a bit with the Risotto al Vin Santo and a house salad. A perfectly cooked risotto (not too firm, not too soggy) was topped with thin bits of prosciutto, delicate slices of asparagus, and shaved aged cheese that melted nicely into the risotto creating a wealth of textures.

The cocktails were a win and not watered down dredge like I expected from a bottomless glass. The peach puree was a nice foil for the dishes we sampled. The crowd at Taverna oozed a quiet upscale vibe with a mix of downtown church goers and well-dressed urbanites out for a bit of sunshine.

On a subsequent Sunday, we popped into The Pour House (2725 W. 7th Street) at their new home. The brunch crowd at The Pour House was a different mix and the vibe was sports bar casual. Churchgoers and individuals over 40 were in the minority despite an "adult easy listening" vibe that ran with the music and quiet service prior to noon.

This changed in a dramatic fashion as the clock ticked over and suddenly the sports bar environment became jarringly clear as the televisions were switched on to full volume and the younger clientele began to crawl in, some possibly still wearing the previous night's garb.

The abrupt change in tone would have been tolerable with the right dosage of cocktails. Alas, the $5 bottomless mimosas and poinsettias on offer were heavy on the fruit juice and I was certain I would require insulin long before a designated driver might be required.

On future trips I'll opt instead for the lavishly stocked fix-your-own bloody mary bar so I can be assured of my dosage.

Food offerings were passable but not spectacular. I tried the migas (scrambled eggs with bacon, tortilla chips, cheese, and pico de gallo). They gave the requisite spicy kick but the appearance was unappetizing, not enhanced by the accompanying helping of fried potatoes swimming in a pool of grease. My companion sampled the Pour House Hangover Huevos Rancheros (flour tortillas topped with eggs, beans, cheese, and chorizo). The ranchero sauce was off-putting with a color (electric orange) not typically seen in nature.

The Pour House is a great place to nurse a hangover with the requisite dose of fresh alcohol, sugar, and grease. It's not the place to take the family necessarily.

Our final Sunday stop was Macs - An American Grill (2600 W. 7th Street, Suite 153 in Montgomery Plaza). Macs squeaks into the bottomless category not with cocktails (although they do offer enticing happy hour prices during brunch) but with fruit.

Yes, fruit.

Mac's has the lure of a "fruit bar" at breakfast--available as a stand-alone option or as part of any of their brunch offerings. The bar offers a wide range of fresh cut fruit, whipped cream, and breakfast breads. That sweet offering is important as Macs offers no other sweet brunch dishes--all are savory and egg based--and a protein loaded lunch selection is also available.

I settled on the Eggs Point St. George, a seafood benedict creation with large chunks of crab, poached eggs, Hollandaise, topped on an English muffin. The heavy protein content of the dish--crab was definitely in the starring role--helped me forget that I was dining on eggs yet again. The cream was offset by a nice nest of hash brown potatoes on the side.

My companion sampled the Mushroom & Spinach Omelet, a large, firm compilation of eggs, spinach, mushrooms, cheese, and bacon accompanied by a healthy mound of potatoes as well.

The fruit bar presented a bounty of melon and berries along with warm nut bread and offered an opportunity to check out the well-coiffed clientele, most seemingly trickling into the crowded dining room after church. Nonetheless, that crowd kept the bartenders quite busy with mimosa and bloody marys on order.

While not bottomless, at $4, they packed the strongest punch of any we sampled.

OK--so leave it to the church crowd...

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