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Spotlight: Brunch At California Grill

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For those of you who still lament the loss of the Sunday brunch at La Coquina, take heart. The newly established brunch at California Grill may be the worthy replacement.

La Coquina, you’ll recall, was special because the salads, charcuterie, cold seafoods and other starter foods were set up at stations inside the hotel’s kitchen, ordinarily out of sight of the diners.

California Grill does sort of the same thing with its opening courses. But since it features an open show kitchen such foods as salads, sushi and cured meats are set up in front of the kitchen stations. And, as was the case at La Coquina, the entree course is ordered separately and delivered to the table.

Here’s where there is a major departure between the two experiences: La Coquina featured bottomless glasses of mimosas or Champagne — and good stuff, too. California Grill offers one welcome drink, then you’ll be billed separately if you would like more. And that welcome drink does not include the premium Bloody Mary bar. That’s a $15 surcharge that is definitely worth it.
It’s the $80 base fee that might give pause. And that, of course, does not include tax and gratuity. So essentially you’re talking about a hundred bucks per person for a one-drink brunch. But here’s some good news: valet parking is included. (Don’t forget to tip the valet.)

The food, of course, is very good. Besides the sushi, charcuterie, deviled eggs and such, signature entree items include Poached Lobster Benedict, Pan-fried Buttermilk Organic Chicken Cutlet, Chef’s Fritatta, and Grilled Flat Iron Steak.

A duo played some lovely, appropriate music next to a window in the center of the restaurant.

Is it all worth it? For a special occasion splurge, a fabulous brunch like this is sometimes called for. Just keep reminding yourself, I’m getting free valet parking.

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