There’s nothing better than waking up on a perfectly beautiful Sunday morning after having enjoyed an action-filled weekend in a city like New Orleans, unless of course that morning includes “Breakfast at Brennan’s.”
Located one street over from Bourbon on Royal Street, this pink mansion, which was originally “Le Banque de New Orleans” and then a private residence, has been recognized as the French Quarter’s most iconic establishment since 1946. Having undergone an extensive renovation in which no expense was spared and no detail overlooked, the new decor radiates a stunning old-world elegance that cloaks everyone who walks through its doors in an unmistakable air of luxury and grace.
With eight dining rooms spread over 16,000 square feet of opulence, we were stunned by the glittering collection of Rex trinkets on display. The ones below adorned the 2014 Queen of Mardi Gras, we had no idea there was such a thing!
From the moment we sat down everything was impeccable. The waiters, dressed to the nines, were welcoming and polite, making sure to pull out our chairs and gently place our napkins on our laps. The gold, morning sun shone through the windows, which faced the courtyard, lighting up the vibrant, white tablecloth before us, providing the perfect stage to build our spotlight-worthy morning upon.
The menu options were unlike any other, but with Chef Slade Rushing calling the shots, it was no wonder. Baked apple with oatmeal pecan raisin crumble, brown sugar glaze and sweetened créme fraíche? YES PLEASE.
Understandably so, Brennan’s is famous for “Breakfast at Brennan’s,” and Bananas Foster, but we’ll get to that in a bit. The classic Breakfast at Brennan’s is presented as a 3-course meal in which each dish reveals a reverence for southern culinary tradition, as well as the French, Spanish, and Italian influences on New Orleans cuisine.
Legend has it that when Chef Rushing auditioned for the job, he was asked to create an Eggs Benedict variation, which he did, sticking close to the original recipe but making everything from scratch, from the muffin to the Canadian bacon. He explains in his own words, “There are things that you don’t change for a reason. You’ve got a classic dish that’s perfect. You can’t recreate it, but you can make all the elements perfect.” Artisinal Eggs Benedict pour moi s’il vous plaît.
Drew, after hearing about the Special, which consisted of half an entire one and a half pound fresh Maine lobster, couldn’t resist. This gourmet lobster boudin is brought together with panko crumbs, serving as a decadent base for the creamed spinach and perfectly poached eggs, all of which are draped in a warm and savory Creole mustard and hollandaise sauce… WOW.
We really must point out how incredible the service was too. Think more guardian angels who wear bow ties and deliver food, than waiters. Ready to swoop in whenever needed and constantly, yet discretely, observing our level of bliss. The care and professionalism was evident in every move they made:
Or how about that impressive selection of brunch cocktails:
We sipped on a fresh cup of coffee as we admired the incredible passing dishes and possibilities of dessert before noon. This was a new concept for us, a new concept that we could get used to, not everyday, but we understood how taking the time to enjoy a morning in such a sweet way could be good for the soul.
Looking for something light but not wanting to sacrifice the experience, we came to a unanimous decision, Bananas Foster is was. Invented at Brennan’s in 1951, Owen Brennan named this world-famous dessert after his good friend Richard Foster. Over thirty-five thousand pounds of bananas are flamed each year at Brennan’s, making this the most requested item on the menu!
We watched closely as the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon melted and swirled together, creating the legendary base that would soon be home to the simmering bananas. Off to the side, two scoops of vanilla bean ice cream patiently awaited their moment.
Watch the video below as Christian, one of the General Managers, masterfully flambés this incredible number table-side. He pours the banana liqueur, followed by rum, and we watch in awe as this decadent creation explodes in flames!
If only you could smell the aroma that was whirling all around us, hints of cinnamon amidst a sea of butter, bananas and rum… take me back:
The warm, buttery glaze coated the ice cream, melting it down to the perfect consistency, allowing it to drip down and around the tender bananas and our spoons. It was a magical morning to the very last scoop.
As if things couldn’t get any better, we had the pleasure of meeting Ralph Brennan himself! Poised, amiable and kind-spirited, he spends much of his time in the restaurant consulting with the chefs on their menus, serving food to guests, bussing tables and, as we were lucky enough to experience, welcoming old friends and future generations to Brennan’s. In an age of increasing casualness, he stubbornly insists that a meal be celebrated as a wonderful event, it’s no wonder this restaurant was such a joy to experience.
Bonus: If you find yourself drooling over your computer and can’t make it to Brennan’s within the next 24 hours, you can find their classic Bananas Foster recipe here! However, if you are in the neighborhood, stop by their kitchen window, which faces Royal Street, and watch the chefs as they hone in on their craft!