Dining Out

Brunch: The Critic's Picks

When you write about food for a living, how do you choose a favorite?

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CAV
In and of itself, CAV is a unique restaurant, so brunch is a delightful and rare experience. Surrounded by antiques and artifacts from exotic lands, you can dine on French Toast a la CAV – thick slices of sweet brioche with sautéed apples, raisins and walnuts in a butterscotch and pure maple syrup sauce. Eggs Supreme consists of three fluffy eggs with sun-dried tomatoes, applewood-smoked bacon and shallot sauce. The Smoked Salmon Frittata with fresh herbs is served with roasted red bliss potatoes and grilled French bread. The fresh fruit platter is a work of art. Prices range from $7 to $14, but the restorative atmosphere exuding from owner Sylvia Moubayed is priceless.

Coast Guard House
A former Coast Guard station, this historic restaurant is perched on the rocks next to the fairy tale-like Towers of Narragansett. Ardent fans liken it to being on a cruise ship with water, water everywhere. Basic breakfast fare, such as omelets and crepes, is available, but with a $25.95 price tag most folks opt for the gourmet items – prime rib, ham, beef bourguignon, salmon, roasted chicken, pasta dishes, cheese and fruit platters, various fresh salads, and classic desserts such as New York-style cheesecake and tiramisu garnished with fresh berries. The per-person charge includes a Mimosa, coffee, tea and juice. The cost for children age 10 and under is $10.95.

Eleven Forty Nine
This spectacular, award-winning brunch comes with live music provided by a classical guitarist. For $24.95, you can start with Chef Jules Ramos’ signature clam and corn chowder and then move onto any number of food stations, from omelets and fresh fruit to pasta and salads. Entrees include teriyaki-glazed prime rib, honey-Dijon glazed baked ham, herb-roasted pork loin, and rosemary and garlic roasted leg of lamb, freshly carved and served with savory accompaniments. Save room for the house-made decadent desserts, from the flourless chocolate torte to the red velvet cupcakes. Children eat at half price, and there is no charge for children under 3 years of age.

Nicks on Broadway
This highly evolved diner serves contemporary American food created by the passionate chef-owner, Derek Wagner. Seasonally inspired and locally sourced, the brunch menu will tempt you with a frittata of sweet corn, zucchini, onion and Crystal Brook Farm goat cheese with toast. Black beans are served with two eggs, a grilled tortilla, salsa and an addictive avocado-cilantro cream sauce. And then there’s the vanilla-battered house-baked brioche French toast with Vermont maple syrup and warm spiced fruit compote. Prices range from $5 for house-baked granola with fresh fruit and yogurt to $14 for the Maine smoked salmon platter with all the traditional accoutrements over pesto-grilled rustic bread.

Tara's Tipperary Tavern
Superlatives abound for Tara’s, Rhode Island’s oldest Irish pub serving quite possibly the most unusual breakfast in the state. This is the place for an authentic Irish Breakfast ($10.95) complete with bangers and rashers. That’s sausage and bacon served with two eggs, hash, baked beans, fried tomatoes, home fries and toast. The Irish Eggs Benedict ($8.95) offers two poached eggs with rashers on an English muffin topped with hollandaise sauce. Tara’s Irish coffee is crowned with freshly made whipped cream. It only gets better in the summer when you can have your breakfast on the deck at Tara’s with its magnificent view of the Atlantic Ocean and Block Island off in the distance.