Sherman's Food Adventures: Hart House (Brunch)

Hart House (Brunch)

You wouldn't think trying to get a reservation for brunch would be such a difficult thing to do right?  Well, it seems people are really itching to dine-out these days and if you aren't quick with the trigger (whether it be online or by phone), you won't be getting a reservation at the time you wanted.  Furthermore, many places do not even take resos!  This was the case for us as we wanted to go for brunch with my parents.  Sure, there are many places to hit up for brunch, but we also wanted something interesting.  So we ended up going to an ol' favourite that often gets lost in the noise of newer and sexier spots - The Hart House.  Situated in a Tudor-style house and overlooking Deer Lake, not sure why we didn't think about this earlier.

It was no surprise that my son opted for the Smoked Salmon Benny with crispy fried smashed potatoes.  This was a solid benny with runny free-range egg yolks atop plenty of buttery salmon.  There was a layer of spinach underneath, to my son's chagrin, and a nicely toasted English muffin on the bottom.  Hollandaise was creamy and just rich enough with good flavour and a hint of acidity.  The abundance of potatoes on the side were really crunchy with a creamy potatoey inside.

For my daughter, she went a bit off the board from her usual choices and had the Chef's Three Cheese and Herb Frittata. This didn't look like much, but it was very fluffy and ate well.  It also came with toasted sourdough and far too many fried smashed potatoes (I mean it is better than not enough).  Beyond being fluffy, the frittata was cheesy and aromatic from the herbs.  It wasn't filling per se, so it is good for people with small appetites.  Yet will the potatoes, one could be full too.

For myself, I went for the Hart House Burger featuring a fresh ground brisket patty, confit garlic aioli, smoked Caciocavallo, arugula, tomatoes, pickles and frites.  I really enjoyed this burger as the nicely charred patty was thick and juicy.  The natural meat flavours really came through while the garlic aioli was impactful.  That smoked cheese added another layer of flavour.  Frites on the side were thin and crispy.

Viv had probably the weakest item of the meal in the Huevos Estrellados with two organic fried eggs, crispy prosciutto, crispy smashed potatoes and piquillo sauce.  Now it wasn't a bad dish per se, but the lack of a noticeable protein (prosciutto was somewhat lost) made this essentially a plate of fried potatoes coated in sauce.  Sauce was good though with a smoky and creamy sweetness.  Maybe adding some chorizo might've been a better choice.

My dad ordered the Knuckle Sandwich sporting Nova Scotia lobster, arugula, tomato jam and lemon tarragon aioli on brioche.  I thought there was enough lobster present to make an impact (could've been a bit more, but then the sammie would've been more expensive).  The lobster was sweet with the classic rebound texture.  Tomato jam added sweet tang while the aioli provided creaminess and acidity.  Brioche was soft and did not interfere with the lobster.

My mom ordered what she usually orders in the Steak Frites featuring a 6oz flat iron steak, shoestring frites, truffle aioli and gremolata.  Cooked to medium-rare, the steak was tender and had good beef flavour.  This was complimented by the bright gremolata on top.  Frites on the side were just like the ones I had with my burger. Overall, brunch at the Hart House was pleasant and reasonably-priced.  It is no more expensive than a chain restaurant, but the setting, service and history of the place makes it unique and somewhere people should consider for Sunday brunch.

The Good:
- Beautiful house and setting along the lake
- Generally good eats
- Reasonably-priced

The Bad:
- Usually lots of free parking, but when there is a wedding or event, the lot is full
- Home fries (fried smashed potatoes) were good, but some were too small and overfried  


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