In the last few years, brunch has become immensely popular in Western New York. Both the quality and quantity of brunch offerings is continually expanding. While there are ample selections for Sunday brunch, there are only a handful of places that serve brunch on Saturday. We had a chance to return to a restaurant I’d been to a couple times before to try its Saturday brunch last week. Our Saturday brunch at The Lodge exceeded expectations. What followed did not.
We made a reservation for brunch because we wanted to secure a six top for our entire family. We arrived and had a short wait while our table was readied. During the wait, we enjoyed the live jazz being performed downstairs. It wasn’t long before we were shown to our table upstairs in the game room. It turned out to be the perfect location as our children had things to occupy the time as we waited for our food.
The brunch menu at The Lodge has staples in addition to specials that are regularly added. There are both sweet and savory options that feature the restaurant’s house made ingredients like butters, jams and bacon. We ordered two items to be split amongst our four children – Ricotta Pancakes ($11) and The Lodge Breakfast with bacon ($9). We also got a side of bacon ($5) so that there would be plenty for all. My wife also selected The Lodge Breakfast but with wild boar sausage ($12). I chose the Huevos Rancheros ($14). Also featured during brunch are pitchers of Mimosas ($12) and Bloody Marys ($15). We chose the former and were not disappointed.
While we waited for the food, two plates of small pastries arrived at our table. The kids gobbled them up. The wait was not long for the rest of our food to arrive fortunately. The Lodge Breakfast was first up. It was composed of two eggs, home fries and an English muffin. The eggs were lightly scrambled, just as the kids had asked. The muffin was toasted lightly and slathered with plenty of butter. The potatoes had a great caramelization while maintaining a light and fluffy interior. The bacon had an understated salinity and smokiness, but was very tasty. Every last crumb of the cured and smoked pork vanished shortly upon arrival.
My wife’s breakfast was very similar, but with the substitution of wild boar sausage for bacon. The sausage was her favorite part of the plate and it was delicious. It was caramelized well, wasn’t overly salty and had just enough of a spice and herbal component to balance out the rich boar meat. She was as happy with her choice as were the kids.
The pancakes came three to an order and were topped with blueberry maple syrup and lemon curd. The pancake were rich from the addition of the cheese but were still not overly dense. The blueberry maple syrup brought enough sweetness to the plate as the pancakes were not overly so. The lemon curd was brightly acidic yet still sweet. It was the perfect complement to the blueberries.
My huevos rancheros were equally tasty. Fried eggs were served with black beans, deep friend hunks of pork belly and a house made ranchero sauce. All of this was served a top lightly fried tortillas. The eggs were cooked sunny side up with plenty of yolk to mix into the tomato based sauce. The earthiness of the beans complimented the sauce well. The pork belly was cooked a little further than I’d have liked, bordering on too crispy. That said, I ate every last piece and wanted more. The sauce needed some heat which was easily remedied with the addition of readily available hot sauce. The addition of cotija cheese made for a traditional garnish to the dish as well as adding a bit more salinity.
Our brunch at The Lodge was top notch. Everyone enjoyed the food and the atmosphere upstairs was perfect for our kids. We liked it so much we attempted to make reservations for our family and several friends for brunch on my wife’s birthday. Unfortunately, both my wife and I were given the run around when trying to make reservations. The party of twelve we tried to book was too large to do so online so we both called. When my wife and I called on separate occasions, we were both advised that we needed to speak to the “Operations Director” and were told to leave our number for a call back. Even though we both tried to reach this individual again, no call back was ever received and we took The Lodge off the list as an option for her birthday brunch. We may or may not go back for brunch as this poor customer service made us question whether a return trip was worth it. At least the food was good on our first visit.