Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Brunch for the Overindulgent at Paggi House

The reputation of this place most certainly precedes itself. You can talk to anyone in Austin and you'll hear something great about Paggi House. It's impeccable service, swanky atmosphere, mouth-watering food or it's memorable brunch. 10, 10, 10 & 10. Even Yelp boasts an astounding 200 posts, which all ooze upper-crust, so why even bother to review if all the other foodies have?

I've been to Paggi House a handful of times but never to eat a full meal. Once upon a time my good friend was an original partner in the business, so occasionally we'd connect for drinks and appetizers in the one of a kind, stone constructed, courtyard bar. But after a 2 year hiatus, my fading memory recalls a once impressive wine and some type of plated hors d'oeuvre. Evidently time for my return! Enter Breakfast In Austin and my desire to experience the reputable Paggi House brunch. Some say one of the best in town...

My companion for Sunday's jaunt? Gary, or G-Man. Boyfriend extraordinaire and quite possibly the best breakfast mate with a discerning critical eye. No rainbows, butterflies or fluffy B.S. with this man. I figured if anyone could see through an overrated place, G-Man would. In any case, we arrived to this 1840's historical structure before our 11:15 a.m. reservation to free valet parking and a perky hostess dressed for the inevitable party happening later that night. We were asked politely to wait a few minutes for seating, so I ordered a Bloody Mary from the bar and my companion an Iced Tea.

After a quick 10 minutes, we were seated at a quaint 4-top inside. G-Man quickly commented on the Paggi House architecture reminding him of landmarks in Charleston, South Carolina. A definite feel good for G-Man. While waiting on our server, we laughed at the musical stylings of Bob Marley singing from the speakers. Love our reggae but seemed an odd choice in these surroundings - especially with a jazz band playing outside.

Our nameless but excellent server welcomed us by explaining most of the Sunday samplings were set up buffet style in the west end of Paggi House. With that we gathered our hunger and tasted fresh fruit with homemade whipped cream, home made pastries, french toast, bleu cheese grits, bacon, breakfast sausage, mini-quiche, roasted pork tenderloin, grilled zucchini and red onion and hash browns. The hits? The fresh fruit and cream were delicious, bleu cheese grits amazingly flavorful and the quiche worth mentioning. Unfortunately the french toast was SOGGY, the pastries bland and the other offerings just standard.

Separately, we were encouraged to order Chicken and Waffles, Eggs Any Style (benedict, scrambled, sunny side up, over easy or poached) or Omelet's from the kitchen. As if these options weren't enough, we were free to order an unlimited amount. Really??!! An absolute dream for me! I finally took the plunge in sampling Chicken and Waffles. Brave but definitely not my favorite - dark meat, gag - but quite interesting and cool in presentation. Always a sucker for the Benedict, I ordered one portion and was sadly letdown with the over use of butter in the hollandaise sauce, although the ham and poached egg were cooked well.

To top off any gluttony, we patrons have that instinctual need to combine our food and beverage, right? Paggi House delivers in this arena. Drink selections include Mimosas - $1, Spicy Bloody Mary's - $2.50, Raspberry Lemonade with Vodka - $4, Strawberry Mojito's with Silver Rum - $4.50, Red Wine Sangria - $2.50 OR you can overindulge your senses with a $20 pitcher. I opted for another Spicy Bloody Mary (that'd be 2 if you're counting) and neither were spicy enough. I ended my meal with a cup of the organic drip coffee, which was a splendid way to end this eating experience at Paggi House.

No huge regrets in Paggi House Sunday brunch but I am left with two big O's. 1 - Overrated and 2 - Overindulgent. Think a few times before adding Paggi House as your #1 breakfast destination, as the food isn't as mouth watering as you might be led to believe and the cost in my opinion is unreasonable. Will I return? Most likely yes, but for dinner or their reverse happy hour in the late p.m.

Serving Sunday brunch at the Paggi House from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Diners are encouraged to call for a reservation at 512.473.3700

Learn more about Paggi House at http://www.paggihouse.com/
To view the Paggi House Brunch Menu: http://www.paggihouse.com/menus/brunch%20buffet%20061210.pdf

Pros: Fresh fruit, bleu cheese grits, jazz band outside, ambiance, service, cheap drinks
Cons: Soggy French Toast, overpriced buffet at $24 per plate
Suggestions: Cook French Toast for a longer period of time, use less butter in the hollandaise sauce, decrease your per plate cost

Paggi House ~ 200 Lee Barton Drive, Austin, TX 78704 ~ 512.473.3700


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