French toast, mimosas, and a fortune telling fish? You can find all three in the sumptuous, mid-century modern “American Son,” located downtown in the socially conscious Eaton Hotel.
The restaurant’s interior is a throwback to a more glamorous time when hotel restaurants were a place to see and be seen. Midnight velvet booths, leather chairs, and brass fixtures pair seamlessly with a greenhouse of hanging plants and an intricate blue mosaic floor. If your dining companion is less than pleasing, there is plenty to distract the eye.
American Son is named in tribute to chef Tim Ma’s childhood as a second generation American in Arkansas. The menu greets diners with an intimate letter from chef Ma to his parents, thanking them for instilling a love of food and cultural pride. This background sets the stage for a menu of classic American dishes dotted with an eastern influence.
Seated in a sunny window, we decided a drink would be the perfect start. The drink menu is a mixture of classic offerings – like the mimosa – mixed with more creative choices like the passionfruit cocktail comprised of gin, passion fruit, turmeric, Chinese five spice, and sparkling wine. Basic as always, we opted for a classic mimosa with fresh squeezed orange juice and sparkling wine. It was a refreshing mimosa meant to be slowly sipped- quality over quantity at this brunch.
Brunch selections include a compact selection of American favorites, including eggs Benedict and French toast, plus Asian-influenced options like the fried chicken sandwich with papaya slaw, jalapeño, and Thai basil.
Unique to the menu are tiny little “w’s” next to dishes like the avocado toast and açaí bowl. After closer inspection we discovered the “w” stands for wellness. We decided to forgo wellness and ordered the French toast with vanilla bean whipped cream, the salmon pastrami BLT, and a side of home fries. We figured this covered our bases so we could taste-test both an American-inspired and Asian-influenced menu item.
The French toast was a showstopper. The presentation included three round cakes topped with a dollop of vanilla bean cream and berries. No fake syrup here folks! The toast was served with warm, local Virginia maple syrup. After taking a bite, we agreed these tasted even better than they looked. Each cake was moist with a corn bread-like texture and the bottom was caramelized to crunchy perfection. If you have a sweet tooth, this is a must-order.
If you are more of a salty bitch, the salmon pastrami BLT is for you. On first bite, I was hit with the smoky pastrami treatment given to the salmon, which was mellowed by a smooth avocado spread. The sourdough toast had a unique flavor thanks to a healthy amount of butter and a quick meeting with the grill. The thick cut tomatoes and bibb lettuce (hooray no iceberg here) gave the sandwich a fresh flavor and crunch. Crispy fries and ketchup rounded out the meal, but left us thinking a more creative side would have elevated the plate a little more. The menu’s Asian inspired elements were a subtle and provided and interesting flair to the traditional American offerings.
After surrendering our mostly empty plates (I’m looking at you fries) we were brought the bill accompanied by a fortune telling fish. In order to tell if you are passionate, jealous, in love etc., you put the fish in your hand and note which way it curls. My fish waved its little tail telling me I am passionate – passionate about that French toast perhaps?
THE BITCHES SAY: FOUR CHAMPAGNE FLUTES
American Son’s dishes were as beautiful as their interior. File this one away for a photographic brunch date where mid-century meets millennial.
American Son serves brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m.- 3 p.m.