Brunch has returned to Newport Beach in a big way. Seems like every restaurant in town has added a weekend brunch menu to their lineup. Some, like The Winery Newport, have been offering Sunday brunch for several years. Others, like the new Tavern House, launched brunch a couple of weeks ago.
It makes sense for CdM restaurant, which opened for dinner earlier this year, to launch weekend brunch, mainly because CdM Chef Jon Blackford loves breakfast food.
“It’s my favorite time to eat,” Chef Blackford told me when I attended a media brunch two 3eeks ago. “I love a great brunch, maybe more than a great dinner. I love breakfast food. For me, they are my favorite dishes to eat.”
Of course, Chef Blackford is not talking about your basic bacon and eggs breakfast. He goes for something a bit more exotic and memorable.
“I wanted to do interesting food. Hopefully we achieved that,” he said.
His brunch menu is indeed interesting, and memorable.
Chef Blackford brought out a seemingly endless array of dishes from his brunch menu, which is a three-course affair for $40 per person.
But first, bread, which is complimentary. Huge chunks of brioche come with a moat of soft sweet cream butter and Italian marmalade. This is a highly addicting starter but I held myself to two pieces because I knew more was to come.
The brunch includes a choice of five starters: Hatch Chile Deviled Eggs with butter poached lobster and bacon; Avocado Salad with cucumber, cilantro, labneh, lime, dukkah spice, and sesame lavish; Stone Fruit + Oltspeck with peaches, plums, nectarines, oltspeck, cottage cheese, arugula, and jalapeño jelly; Bacon, Egg, and Grits with crispy pork belly, maple gastrique, poached egg, and grits; House Made Yogurt; and Pastrami Cured Salmon with rye waffle, everything spice cream cheese, dill, crispy capers, and sweet onion.
The deviled eggs were divine, with the hatch chiles adding flavor that did not overpower the tenderness of the lobster. The stone fruit was a nice, light starter. Grits fans will love the grits dish, which takes a basic recipe and kicks it up a notch or two with the pork belly and maple gastrique (maple syrup infused with vinegar). The pastrami cured salmon was also a hit, served as a deconstructed bagel and lox, with chunks of waffle standing in for the bagel.
Then it was on to course two, with a choice of seven dishes: Eggs in Purgatory with slow cooked tomato + peppers, chickpeas, baked eggs, and crispy polenta; Asparagus + Mushroom Quiche with hen of the woods, gruyere, and truffle cream; Mexican Benedict with chorizo hollandaise; Horchata Pancakes with vanilla-cinnamon-ricotta pancakes, condense milk syrup, warm apple, granola and berries; Breakfast Pizza with sausage bechamel, ricotta, baked eggs, prosciutto cotta and spinach; a Nicoise Salad with rare ahi, blue lake beans, asparagus, radish, cucumber, potato, soft egg, tomato, and olive vinaigrette; and a Brunch Burger with Niman ground chuck, fried egg, bacon, roasted tomato, avocado garlic aioli, potato brioche bun, and twice cooked fries.
The breakfast pizza is topped with cooked prosciutto, which melts better than ham, and the base is sausage gravy,” noted Chef Blackford. “The quiche is spinach and gruyere, with black truffle cream.”
Third course is a choice of two desserts: Chocolate Cake with whipped chocolate ganache, cherries, and white chocolate powder, or Coconut Panna Cotta with coconut granola, passion fruit, vanilla, and berries. If you’re a chocolate lover, the decadent cake will put a smile on your face.
CdM brunch is served Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Visit cdmrestaurant.com or call (949) 287-6600 for reservations.