Now this is living. Or rather this is eating. The Montage Beverly Hills Brunch Buffet can be summed up in one word: lavish.
A brisk walk through the elegant (ok it's a little Venetian Vegas Tacky, but I'm trying to build suspense for the best brunch you will ever experience .. yes experience), you pass by a quaint lounge where a petite women lazily strings a harp. Taking a left along the veranda takes you to the hostess stand at Scarpetta.
The outdoor speakers broadcasting the performance indoors was reason enough for me to request an outdoor table overlooking the fountain on a perfect 75 degree day.
Once I ordered my $17 bottomless mimosa and $10 flat water, it was off to explore the spread.
What makes this place out of this world amazing to me is that there is a representative from the Beverly Hills Cheese Store (- the most coveted of all food stores -- the cheese Mecca, heaven on earth -- carrying the rarest and loveliest of cheeses, truffles olives and more -- they're so incredible, they don't even need a formal name -- they are THE cheese store). So while Matt went to scope out the shmorgasboard, I stopped at the cheese station to chat up the lovely connoisseur. I told her to surprise me with a plate, and she promised to deliver the decadent cheeses and accompaniments table side within the next 15 minutes.
Next on to the raw bar, with succulent crab, jumbo shrimps, seared ahi tuna, seaweed salads, raw salmon and an assortment of sushis. Go ahead! Get your money's worth! These are the items that turn this brunch into a $68/person affair. The salmon has a lovely citrus flavor and the tuna was tasty, but the sushi was nothing special.
Back to the kitchen for a slice of the meats and all of the vegetable side dishes, which are light but packed with flavor and absolutely scrumptious. The prime rib is served with a variety of reductions and glazes, all of which looked delectable, but rather heavy. I tried just a bite of the meats with horse radish and a red wine glaze. I put a bit of pasta on my plate as well, but wasn't exceptionally impressed. I would skip the pasta next time around.
When the cheese plate finally come I already felt as if I was pregnant and close to birthing a food baby, but that didn't stop me from enjoying the creamy sheeps milk cheese, rich goat cheese, powerful blue and sweet brie. With honey comb, figs, pistachios and a cracker assortment, I was in absolute heaven.
A brief 20 minute break to sip my mimosa and enjoy the thanksgiving meal lull one suffers after eating 3 times one's body weight in a single sitting. The desserts are located in a the bar area, which is perfect - because it's dark and hidden so you can avoid being seriously judged for taking one of all 20+ desserts offered. You can't go wrong with the mini cookies, little custard filled doughnuts, and mousse cups.
1. Go to the cheese station first, as it can take some time to have your plate made and brought tableside.
2. Sit outdoors, there's the most beautiful and relaxing fountain, the tables are expansive, and the heat lamps are a blazin'.
3. survey the scene before you start piling up. Think strategically and don't waste calories on the non-exotics (i.e. california roll or sliders)
4. Get the french toast with the Nutella and Ricotta spread first with some bacon or other breakfast essentials. The syrup is vermont fresh and the french toast is absolutely out of this world. Come back up for the raw bar and the carved meats, try a little of each of the vegetable side dishes, they're so flavorful and pair nicely with the meats.
4.B. No really, get the french toast. I have never, not at the Griddle, not even in France, seen french toast done so impeccably. Soft gooey middle with a flakey cinnamon sugar encrusted crust, it basically begs you to drench it in dar k grade A maple syrup. But the real zinger is the nutella ricotta spread - it's simply ingenious.
5. Don't get hung up on the croissants and pastries. They're good, but the ones you'll get tomorrow at Urth Cafe are just as -if not more- delicious.
6. Have everyone in your party chose two or three desserts so you can reach some sort of dessert consensus on what everyone just can't leave without taking a spoonful. I know your full, but the desserts are not to be overlooked! My favorite was this fabulous tapioca-like caramel pudding and the peanut butter cookies. But you really can't go wrong with the poached pairs or little chocolate lava cakes either.
7. Take your time and enjoy yourself! This is an expensive meal! Plan on spending 2 hours at brunch and really soaking up the experience.
8. And for god's sake spring for the mimosas. I know, I know, you just spent so much on food and it's not even noon, but $17 for bottomless mimosas at the Montage hotel in Beverly Hills? That's not a bad deal now is it.
9. Oh and this should go without saying, but wear lose fitting clothing. And go with your cousin Eddie or equally daft so you can totally pig out with abandon in front of your company.