Well, I finally made it to Lambert's! After how many years it's been open? Four? I've been hearing it's praises forever, and finally got to experience it for myself, on the occasion of my, uh, 29th birthday, with some dear friends. :)
Sunday brunch. Not that almost any meal isn't my favorite meal, but I do especially love brunch. It's that marriage of the sweet (generally maple syrup) and the salty (bacon!) that makes me weak in the knees. Lambert's brunch is perhaps a little different from standard brunches. You can either do the buffet line, or order a la carte from the menu, or, as us smarty pants did: both. Genius! All for one price, so you may as well! And as it turns out, the a la carte items are generally smaller plates, so as not to completely distract you from the buffet at hand.
So we started off with the buffet line...feeling healthy, as I had already eaten a banana at home, I skipped the beautiful bowl of fruit salad, and went straight for the good stuff: bacon, sausage, grits, home fries, potato salad (okay, a little redundant on the potatoes), mac & cheese, and a pork rib. Remember that what Lambert's is is a refined barbeque joint. They know their meat, and they start with high quality meat, so it's hard to go wrong from there. The meat items were really what stood out to me throughout the meal. The applewood smoked bacon was crisp & dry (as in, not greasy) and the breakfast sausage I would guess they may make there, and it had a bit of jalapeno in it. That rib you're looking at (which is covering the bacon & sausage!) is a Berkshire pork rib, done with a little bit of coriander & a maple glaze. Berkshire is an heirloom variety of pork, and is one of the best breeds available. The meat pulled right off the bone, nice smoke ring, not a greasy mess, just tasty as all get out. Not pictured, but acquired on another trip to the buffet was some beautiful Niman Ranch prime rib; great crust on the exterior, tender, moist, perfectly cooked, and served with a creamy horseradish sauce. Didn't try the brisket, but ate more bacon and another rib! If you didn't get it when I said it before, the meats rocked!
The other items were good, but not quite as outstanding. The grits tasty, bit of cheddar & chile pepper in them; I didn't love the texture of the mac & cheese, but others at my table really enjoyed it. Potato salad needed a touch of salt. Oh yeah, and when the waitress came to our table after we sat down with our first round of buffet pickin's to get our drink order, I asked her for salt & pepper. Well, she completely disappeared to get the drinks for about 10 minutes, and I had to ask again for the s & p. Slightly ticked that the need for s & p wasn't immediately picked up upon by our server. And I know I do like my salt, but I felt both the potato salad & grits benefited from just a pinch.
From the a la carte, I ordered the French toast with strawberry butter, made from brioche bread, and the biscuit & gravy. The French toast was tasty, but it wasn't just hot off the griddle, and had been sitting in the syrup for a little bit, so it was a bit soggy. The biscuit dough was a bit overworked, so it wasn't as tender as it could be, and the gravy a bit thin (thought I had taken a picture of that plate, but apparently not). My friends ordered the hanger steak benedict, which was swooned over and the berry smoothie, which we all agreed the addition of fresh mint was was really made it stellar (and why hadn't I thought of that before?!).
For dessert, they had a little table with some offerings... to be honest, I was so mesmerized by the bacon and ribs, I hardly looked at the table (odd, eh?). A few chocolate cream puffs and fried chocolate pies made it over to the table, which were pretty quickly devoured. I left well stuffed. I didn't over-eat, and I wasn't busting at the gut, but I ate plenty. And I will happily return! Plus I've noticed they do half-priced appetizers for happy hour!
And after that meal, I ate an apple for dinner at like 8:30 pm.