Sunday, May 29, 2011

Brunchin’ It Up at Iozzo’s Garden of Italy

I already reviewed Iozzo’s Garden of Italy’s lunch/dinner menu in an earlier blog post, but the restaurant recently introduced a Sunday brunch, giving me the perfect excuse to revisit this delicious local eatery. The new brunch menu is only available on Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and includes some items from their usual menu (such as spaghetti, chicken Marsala, and lobster ravioli) as well as special breakfast dishes (like several types of egg scrambles, a few different Benedicts, oatmeal brûlée, and strawberry ricotta pancakes).

At my recent visit, my friend and I arrived early on a warm spring day and asked to sit in the back courtyard. The staff was happy to accommodate and set us up at a shady table near the burbling fountain. If you haven’t eaten in Iozzo’s garden before, you’re really missing out; it’s a lovely oasis of calm right in the heart of downtown. We both ordered coffees and settled in to read the paper and peruse the menu. My friend also decided to try Iozzo’s loaded Bloody Mary, which was made from Indiana vodka and Bloody Mary mix and served with a jumbo shrimp, a slice of prosciutto, a stick of celery, an olive, some cucumber, and a wedge of lime. The coffees were good and his mixed drink was excellent.

After taking our time with the menu (hey, it’s brunch!), we both made our decisions. My friend ordered the Caprese scramble (eggs cooked with tomato, mozzarella, and basil) while I opted for the amaretto creme brûlée French toast. Wow, that name is a mouthful! And so was the dish itself, made with cubes of bread soaked in a creamy custard and then baked. It really was delicious, almost more of a bread pudding than a traditional French toast. It wasn't overwhelmingly sweet, and the top pieces of bread were slightly charred, which I liked. The sausage patties that came with it were nice, too, spicy and fennel-y like an Italian sausage link. I managed to finagle a bite of the egg scramble, too, and was pleased with it. The eggs were light and fluffy, cooked with generous amounts of tomato and cheese. I wasn’t crazy about the potatoes that accompanied the eggs, though. They were cooked with onions and tomatoes, which was a good combination, but they were a little underdone for me.

Overall, I was very happy with Iozzo’s brunch. The restaurant provides a beautiful setting, great food, and good prices. It will definitely be entering my weekend breakfast rotation.

Iozzo's Garden of Italy on Urbanspoon

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