Mr. K and I recently brunched alfresco at the Epic Roasthouse after my friend Jaytee sent out a link to Pinchit for half off a three-course meal which sounded so decadent and delicious that I immediately signed us up. Secretly, I love eating dessert for breakfast, there are few better ways to start the day than with coffee, good grub, sweets and mimosas! When the weather is good, you really have to sit outside to enjoy the panoramic views of the Bay Bridge. The elegant interior is pretty swanky too if you want to sit inside, with spectacular views of the bay framed by a huge metal flywheel and pipes in the middle of the room that was designed by restaurant impresario and co-owner Pat Kuleto.
We wandered through the Saturday farmers market at the Ferry Building where we slurped some oysters at the Hog Island booth before walking along the sunny Embarcadero to the restaurant. Nice views all around and we were happy to score a table outside where we met up with Jaytee, Daisy and P. The menu features contemporary interpretations of traditional steakhouse favorites by Executive Chef/partner Jan Birnbaum, offering an array of dishes from fish to fowl with a special focus on chops and steaks, including aged grass-fed beef, wagyu style beef, pork and lamb from local farms, all of which are prepared over a wood-fired hearth. Chef Birnbaum’s illustrious 30-year career began at K-Pauls Louisiana Kitchen, and includes time at the Quilted Giraffe in NYC, Campton Place in SF, then he went on to open Catahoula in Calistoga (now closed) and Sazerac in Seattle, before moving back to open Epic. We enjoyed the bread platter which included cornbread madeleines, cheesy gougieres and slices of crusty bread.
We all began our brunch with the salad, rather than yogurt and granola. Little Gems Salad Point Reyes Blue Cheese Dressing and Bacon Brittle ($12). The lettuce is a smaller, sweeter variety of romaine that I enjoyed dragging through the rich dressing. Strangely enough, I just didn’t love the bacon brittle, which was sticky and sweet and added an oddly bitter aftertaste. Candied nuts are still within the realm of possibilities, but I couldn’t detect any bacon in the brittle which made my teeth stick together and knocked the balance off for me, but it was easy enough to pick out the few bits o’ brittle.
I loved the Grilled Ribeye Steak Sandwich on crusty baguette with fries and cabbage slaw ($19). The thick slices of succulent steak could have benefited from some type of sauce, but the simplicity of preparation really showcased the flavor of the beef.
The other dish offered was Dungeness Crab Cake Benedict with Chive Hollandaise ($16). Two poached eggs, not quite runny and one big crab cake. Very rich and filling, it begged for buttered toast, rather than the soft bread in the basket.
My favorite was the dessert course, two Beignets which arrived piping hot from the fryer and liberally coated with powdered sugar. The interior of each freshly fried puff was tender with a slightly crisped crust, the powdered sugar left a cooling sensation on my tongue. It was very satisfying dunked into the accompanying melted bittersweet chocolate sauce. And then I still find it hard to believe, but I saw it with my own two eyes, across the table my friend Daisy was scraping off the hated powdered sugar… to each her own…
I took the above shot with the ever fascinating Lytro camera, which is fun to click around to change the focal point.