When I got to Ravenous for Sunday brunch two weeks ago, there was a line of 15 people outside waiting to get in.  I hate waiting in lines, so I took the opportunity to try a new restaurant.

www.lilliansrestaurant.com

This place appears to be a classic chophouse:  dark wood paneling to the chair rail, striped wallpaper above, Tiffany style lighting fixtures, a dinner menu heavy on the cuts of beef.  I was here for brunch, however, so I had something different:  French Toast.  I like French toast, always have.   I prefer it to pancakes.  It was the first food I learned to cook.  The dish at Lillian’s was different, their own version of what is, when you get down to it, bread pudding.  Their version involves four two-inch thick slices of oblong bread (from a batard loaf if I had to guess) soaked in egg custard, crusted with slivered almonds, and anointed with amaretto syrup.  On top of this was a layer of pan-fried, but still very tart green apple slices.  Of all the components, only the syrup could be considered “sweet,” though the toast itself had a very mild sweetness from the almonds and milk in the custard.  This is a “sweet” dish that my Austin sister (who does not like excessively sweet dishes) would enjoy.  It’s a dish that falls right in the “sweet” spot for my recommendations – a classic dish with some creativity applied, a nice balance of differing elements (soft custard, crunchy almonds, sweet syrup, sour apples) cooked well.  The only recommendation I’d make is to plate it with some bacon to add a salty/savory component to the dish.

While I was waiting for my food to arrive, I looked around at what other people were eating.  There was what appeared to be an honest-to-Bob frittata on one plate, and some nice looking eggs Benedict on another, both served with what the menu described as “breakfast potatoes,” which appeared to me to be baking potatoes quartered lengthwise and deep fried.  I’ve written before about how that particular style is hard to cook properly (in my opinion).  I got a chance to try them myself the next week, when I returned to try their Eggs Benedict.  This dish was very much the standard version, but cooked very well (still Counter Café’s pastrami or spinach versions are better) served with a punch glass of grapes and those aforementioned “breakfast potatoes.”  I was partially correct.  They were baking potatoes quartered lengthwise.  But they were baked potatoes (left over from the previous night?) quartered lengthwise and deep fried, resulting in a very good fried potato product.  I personally love the use of left over baked potatoes for this sort of thing.  Whenever I bake potatoes, I always bake more than I need to I can turn them into hash browns.

Anyway, this is definitely on the list for brunching with out-of-town guests, assuming I can get any, and I do want to try out their dinner menu.  I’ll let you know how that goes.

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