Brunch at a seafood restaurant might not be an obvious choice on a weekend morning, but Stoic & Genuine will change your mind. Head chef Patrick McCready is incorporating his Washington roots and many years of cooking experience in San Francisco to bring seafood to a new brunch that just launched last month at the Union Station restaurant. Fresh Maine lobster, salmon, scallops and crab cakes are on the menu, turning these treasures of the sea into breakfast staples.
If you like deviled eggs and are ready for a twist on the classic, the deviled egg trio is a great way to experiment. The first is topped with crispy speck (like smoked prosciutto), the second with lobster and the third with caviar. These deviled eggs are a bit spicier than those in traditional recipes, but the added "deviling" makes an excellent complement to the savory garnishes, especially the salty caviar.
For a taste of New England, try the red flannel hash, made with braised beef, potatoes and beets (the crucial ingredient that makes it red flannel). Topped with fried eggs and sided with avocado, the dish highlights the beets, even though their earthy flavor is not overwhelming. Chef McCready explains that the beef is a cut called chuck flap, slow-cooked until it almost melts, mixing effortlessly with the sliced avocado.
Next up are the fluffy buttermilk flapjacks, made exponentially better with sides of spicy-sweet chutney (a daring choice), whipped cream and maple syrup. McCready warned me that the chutney would have a kick (and he was right!), but golden raisins, pears and apples, all seasoned with cinnamon and ginger, provide a sweet balance to the condiment.
Fishy brunch comes in the form of a crab cake Benedict and a salmon salad. The Maryland Benedict places poached eggs on crunchy crab cakes, all topped with Hollandaise. An arugula salad on the side adds a hint of bitterness. The salmon salad, made with house-smoked salmon, sits on a latke with lemon-caper crème fraîche and a poached egg. The dish is surprisingly light, considering the rich fish, sauce and egg sharing a plate with fried potatoes.
If you're craving something more lunch-oriented, you can create your own seafood-based dish by picking your own protein — crab cakes, scallops, lobster, shrimp or a fish fillet — and then having it served on either a Green Goddess salad, a po'boy or avocado toast.
Brunch wouldn’t be complete without cocktails, and Stoic & Genuine has plenty of them. I started with the appropriately named It’s So Pretty, which combines gin with Crooked Stave Sour Rosé, a tart beer that mimics the trendy pink wine. I also tried the Scott Thompson, a tequila-based drink with prosecco, honey and carrot granita, which basically makes it an adult slushie. You can also get a mimosa or a Bloody Mary with a crab leg hanging out of it.
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Every item on the menu had passed the kid test, and it sounds like McCready’s children are quite the critics. The chef's kids visit often, sitting at the counter that faces into the kitchen and helping him narrow down the roster. So if your own youngsters are budding food critics too, you can bring them to Stoic & Genuine for brunch and a show.
"One of the best parts about offering brunch here is that most people don’t think of seafood for brunch, and we get to delight them with dishes they never would have thought of," says director of operations Betsy Shields. "Patrick has incorporated the seafood incredibly well and in such a creative way."
Brunch has only been offered for six weeks, so this is your chance to Instagram some beautiful plates before your friends get the chance. Just make sure you include the tiny salt pails and shovels on the tables; they're adorable. Salt away!
Stoic & Genuine is located in Union Station at 1701 Wynkoop Street. For more information about brunch, call 303-640-3474 or visit the restaurant's website.