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- Photo by Rob Bartlett
- Cask & Larder
Chefs turn out their Sunday best
For an à la carte chef's experience, turn to the higher-end restaurants. They play the brunch game too, but this isn't the place to find a mountain of scrambled eggs and hash browns; they put out plates just as creative and thoughtfully prepared as anything they do after dark.
Critics' darlings like Artisan's Table, the Osprey Tavern, Smiling Bison and Txokos are all in the brunch bunch. At chef Greg Richie's Soco (629 E. Central Blvd., 407-849-1800, socothorntonpark.com), find crispy duck confit potato cakes, Southern-fried quail and waffles, and fresh buttermilk biscuits and gravy with crispy pork belly alongside a lengthy "brunch libations" menu (which includes a bottomless mimosa option).
Scratch (223 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park, 407-325-5165, scratchtapas.com) serves Sunday brunch including dishes like ham risotto, brioche french toast and kouign-amman mixed in with their usual menu; they also offer "brinner" from 6-10 p.m.
James and Julie Petrakis' Cask & Larder has been a brunch standout since they began offering it; now their Ravenous Pig (1234 N. Orange Ave., Winter Park, 407-628-2333, theravenouspig.com) also boasts a Saturday brunch service, partially so that chef James can get back into the kitchen. His take on bacon and eggs goes beyond the traditional morning meat-and-three: Zippy arugula chimichurri covers a half-inch-thick slab of crisped pork belly, crumbled queso fresco and a hash of Peruvian purple potatoes. The Croque Madame sandwich is salty-sweet at its brunchy best, a crunchy, sweet, caramelized croissant filled with a wiggly fried egg, ham, melted Gruyere and bèchamel.
Over at Cask & Larder (565 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park, 321-280-4200, caskandlarder.com), the brunch selection is wide and varied – fried green tomato poutine, banana beignets with candied bacon, and a St. Johns catfish po'boy are just a few of the Southern twists the menu has to offer – but the Nashville hot chicken and waffles is the crowd-pleaser. Perfectly crunchy, spicy-sweet fried chicken over cornbread waffle quarters, served with dill crème fraîche and smoked honey ... lord have mercy.