It’s hard to find a true brunch experience in Austin with all the frills. Mimosas, bloody mary’s, pastry baskets, pancakes, eggs benedict/florentine, biscuits, are just not found everywhere. Many popular dinner spots are not open for this meal period and most people want breakfast tacos or want to hit the outdoors during brunching hours. Central Standard is my new favorite brunch menu and it’s located in The South Congress Hotel. It’s open for weekend brunch and dinner but not lunch. All the bloody mary’s and mimosa dreams come true here and the gorgeous deep green tiles, bright windows, rustic open kitchen with hanging pans, and detailed bar exude fancy and trendy feelings. You can tell every design detail was thought out very carefully and it is all very tasteful.
As soon as you walk to the main dining room, you see a glimpse of all the fresh baked breakfast treats like the Spiced Carrot Cake Donut, Warm Cinnamon Roll, and Cheddar Beer Gougere. If you’re feeling saucy start with the Hot Crab Dip. Served in a cast iron skillet, it’s filled with cheddar cheese, roasted peppers, smoked paprika, roasted peppers and buttered, grilled bread. This takes any edge off that you might be feeling the night before if you know what I mean. On the lighter side, go for the perfectly assembled smoked salmon, pickled onion and everything spice Deviled Eggs. Brunch cocktails are only $8 which is extremely reasonable in this fancy hotel and touristy street.
While the Cheeseburger has a pretty high reputation here, I went for the Egg White Omelet with Roasted Butternut Squash, Ricotta, Pine Nuts, Ashed Onion, and Arugula. It looks and tastes more like a frittata as it’s in circular form versus a folded over omelet. This is why I think I liked it even more. The ricotta is so subtle and I love the saltiness of the entire dish with the sweet squash. The Huevos Rancheros also has a great presentation. It’s also served in a cast iron skillet with two eggs, black beans, tomatoes, cotija, avocado and cilantro. It looks different than most you might be used to as the tortillas are served soft and on the side versus fried and under the eggs and bean mixture.
Locals and tourists alike populate this hot spot and I will be back for dinner! It’s a great way to impress out of town guests although it does feel a lot like New York and LA so if you want to show a friend some Austin authenticity or Tex-Mex just pop in here for a cocktail and a pastry beforehand.