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Brunch Bets: Brownstone

South End spot offers brunch menu seven days a week


Just a block from Copley Square, directly next to Back Bay Station, lies a hidden gem of a brunch eatery. Seven days a week, Brownstone offers patrons delightful twists on traditional brunch offerings. The classic neighborhood bistro has become popular with South End and Back Bay residents and tourists alike.

Executive chef Kelly Snogles has made sure the place doesn’t serve standard diner fare. Among the mouthwatering options: duck and sweet potato hash ($14), stacks of made-to-order pancakes ($6 for 2, $9 for 3), and a “Bad Ass Bloody Mary” garnished with bacon ($12).

If you’re going for brunch during the week, you probably don’t need a reservation. We stopped by about 10:30 a.m. on a recent Sunday, and getting a table was easy. However, if you plan to get there much later, you probably should make a reservation.

Customers’ attire ranged from business casual to gym clothes, and the waitstaff was decked out in New England Patriots gear, psyched for the game later that day. The bar’s televisions were tuned to early morning NFL coverage. The vibe was invitingly casual.

Crunchy French toast sticks with fried chicken nuggets at Brownstone restaurant, Back Bay, Boston

Brownstone offers interesting twists on classic brunch fare, like the F.C.C.F.T.—crunchy French toast sticks with fried chicken nuggets. Photo by Connor Lenahan (COM’17)

We were immediately drawn to one of the menu’s signature brunch dishes, and knew we had to try it. The F.C.C.F.T. ($14) arrived in a basket containing fried chicken nuggets, crunchy French toast sticks with maple syrup, and bacon. The chicken was warm and tender, every bite melting in your mouth. The French toast was crusted with Frosted Flakes, giving each forkful extra crunch. Looking around the restaurant, it was clear that the dish was popular. There was nothing left of our meal at the end, and it was worth every penny.

We were curious about what struck us as the most intriguing menu offering, Crab Cakes Benedict ($16), a toasted English muffin topped with New England–style crab cakes, poached eggs, and hollandaise sauce. One of the most expensive brunch dishes, it proved its worth. The crab cakes paired well with the egg and muffin and were seasoned enough to pack a wonderfully spicy kick, which managed to wake us up, pleasantly.

Pancakes at Brownstone restaurant, Back Bay, Boston

Brownstone’s fluffy pancakes can be made to order with fruit, chocolate chips, or bacon and come with real maple syrup, butter, and powdered sugar. Photo by Connor Lenahan (COM’17)

And who could resist a classic short stack of two pancakes ($6, $1 for an additional ingredient)? Not us. We split an order of the chocolate chip pancakes (other adds are berries, bananas, and bacon) and agreed that they were among the best we’ve ever had in Boston. They were tasty enough to eat without any garnish, but the added syrup, butter, and powdered sugar made them even more delectable. At just $6 for two relatively large pancakes, it’s a top-quality breakfast that won’t break the bank.

While we did not indulge in one of Brownstone’s several brunch cocktails, we were impressed with the variety. Island Espresso Martini ($12), made with Blue Chair Bay coconut spiced rum cream, espresso vodka, and coffee beans, and Sunshine ($12), with Ketel One vodka, Cointreau, orange juice, and champagne, were among the options, as well as brunch stalwarts like Bloody Marys and Mimosas.

Brownstone offers an enticing location, an even more enticing menu, and a casual, relaxed setting. For students looking to venture into the city or to take their parents for a tasty meal when they visit, this is the place. Brownstone is spectacular.

Brownstone, 111 Dartmouth St., Boston, is open Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 a.m., Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. Phone: 617-867-4142. Takeout is available. The restaurant accepts most major credit cards, but does not take Discover. Take an MBTA Green Line trolley to Copley.

This is part of a weekly series featuring Boston lunch and brunch spots of interest to the BU community. If you have any suggestions for places we should feature, leave them in the Comment section below.

Connor Lenahan can be reached at lenahan@bu.edu; follow him on Twitter at @ConnorLenahan.

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