I’ve shared many of my special occasions with the team that makes up the Little Wisco restaurant empire. I’ve toasted anniversaries and connected loved ones at Perla, cheered to promotions and friendships at Fedora, celebrated birthdays at Chez Sardine, re-connected with foreign friends at Jeffrey’s Grocery, and critiqued my first Bitch brunch at Joseph Leonard. It’s safe to say I’ve made my rounds and followed Gabe Stulman, entrepreneur and restaurant owner, and his highly skilled team, through their many successes.
Which is why I was thrilled to try the newest venture and first French spot in the family, Montmartre, on this particular Saturday. And when I say try, I mean, eat my way through most of the menu.
First up were lattes, which were desperately needed after a night of one too many sugary concoctions at Kingston Hall. Some of my brunch counterparts were committed to tackling their hangovers with more alcoholic fuel, so I was soon surrounded by Bloody Marys with beer chasers, an added bonus to the classic drink, and mimosas with grapefruit, honey, and orange bitters.
We dove right into the menu, and started with one of the most memorable hor d’oeuvres I’ve had: the French onion gratinee with braised oxtail and Gruyere. The former Sous Chef emerged from the kitchen to explain the premise behind his special dish. I was so impressed with the process and thought behind this glorified French onion soup, and I’m sad that this recipe left with him when he went to pursue a new restaurant venture a few weeks later.
The burger with dried age beef, Bearnaise cheese and spinach was unusually soft in consistency which contributed to its deliciously juicy flavor. The bread soaked up the au jus, and I happily mopped up every remnant of its existence on the plate. It reminded me very much of the burgers I’ve had at other Gabe Stulman establishments, so I wouldn’t give this an A+ for originality, but I would give it an A+ for taste. The pommes frites and garlic mayo it was served with made the dish that much better.
My absolute favorite bites of the brunch were from the creme fraiche pancakes with blueberry marmalade and foie gras butter. I could take that foie gras and spread it over my entire life and I’m fairly confident it would make everything better, it’s that good. Unfortunately it cost $5 for a small spread, so I curbed my desire to eat it straight with a spoon.
By this point, we were getting full, but still had more to try so we ordered a Bloody Ceasar to cleanse the palate, which consisted of vodka, oyster, and shrimp and was spicy with a trace of seafood. It got the job done.
Next up was the poulet and pain perdu, which is just a fancy name for chicken and waffles. However, the dish lived up to the lavish name with perfectly cooked waffles paired with satisfying fried chicken and a decadent bacon maple syrup.
The last dish we sampled was the omelette with oyster mushrooms, leeks, and chevre. Usually this would be the first item I’d eye on the menu, but because everything else we had was so bold and flavorful, this actually added nothing to the overall meal. I would steer future visitors towards the pancakes or burger before this standard egg dish.
Thanks to my rum sours from the night prior and a friend in the kitchen, brunch at Montremarte was one of epic proportions. I trudged home back to bed with a food hangover, which I embraced, thanks to one of the best brunches this winter.
The Bitches say: A. Innovative French fare offering a fancier spin on brunch classics, a variety of spicy Bloodys, and a guaranteed good time with friends.
158 Eighth Avenue
Montmartre serves brunch Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.