Sunday, March 29, 2009

Month of brunches: Buttermilk Channel

March 29

"So how's your month of brunches going?" a friend had asked a little while back and I answered that I'd been to two places and he looked a little disappointed. I guess a grandiose title such as "A month of brunches," made it sound like I'd be eating brunch all the month long. Logistically impossible when you even base it on just the days and times brunch is available. The weekend. Note to self: Stay away from sensational headlines.

As much as brunch is popular in New York and with all the places serving it, I found it weird that I ended up not visiting as many as I thought I could. Maybe another month down the road I'll try this one more time and do succeed in eating brunch both days of every single weekend.

With the last weekend of March staring me in the face, I decided I'd visit Buttermilk Channel in Brooklyn.

It's a bright spot on the corner it sat on, daylight spilling inside. I peered at the menu because, like with the other spots I'd visited during March, it was the Bloody Mary selection that caught my eye.

I ordered the Court Street($10), a Bloody Mary made with rosemary infused vodka and garnished with Esposito's antipasti (a bit of really good cured meat, a piece of cheese and an olive speared through).

The name of the drink obviously comes from the restaurant's location and Buttermilk Channel seems to revel in the neighborhood its located in. The restaurant is named after a tidal strait located in the area that connected Brooklyn to Governor's Island. The restaurant's site tells of the two different legends associated to the tidal strait's name. Either it was because the rough waters could churn butter or could when the tide was low Brooklyn farmers would walk their cows to Governor's Island to graze.

Another shoutout to the neighborhood came in the form of my next drink, the Star of the Sea, which I enjoyed with my burger. I was kind of jonesing for waffles or pancakes, but felt that combined with Bloody Marys, it probably wouldn't bode well for my stomach. This one was another Bloody Mary variety made with cucumber and dill infused vodka and garnished with a freshly shucked east coast oyster. The drink is named after a local church called St. Mary Star of the Sea.

As with previous Month of Brunches encounter, as someone who was never all into Bloody Marys, I was surprised to find myself polishing both off rather quickly. Also, while I was drinking the Court Street, I felt like the Bloody Mary had an ingredient in it that I could only describe as being "meaty" in texture. There was something there I was chewing, and I like whatever it was. While drinking the Star of the Sea I realized this "meatiness" I could chew in the drinks was fresh horseradish. I'm a big fan of being able to see and chew bits of ingredients in a Bloody Mary. It tastes of...housemade mix.

I chatted a little with owner Doug Crowell who admitted that he doesn't quite get the big deal about Bloody Marys like me, but realized that it was something pretty important to have on a brunch menu. And if he was going to have them on the menu, he was going to have the best. I said it was kind of weird for me because Bloody Marys feel like full meals to me, like some kind of zesty liquid meal substitute, so to pair that with even more food was kind of funny. Nonetheless, I managed to find room for two Bloody Marys on top of a burger.

Brunch at Buttermilk Channel also comes with a choice of juice, mimosa, bellini or sparkling wine. The other two Bloody Marys on the menu include the Classic ($8), garnished with a housemade dill pickle, and the Otis mad with Jameson whisky, topped off with Sixpoint Otis Stout ($10).

Gratuitous burger shot

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