Since it opened shop in 2014, The Blind Butcher has won over critics and diners alike with house-made sausages, curated charcuterie and a poutine selection that sees a rotation of fatty, decadent meat toppings. A couple of weeks ago, executive chef Oliver Sitrin tucked four new brunch items onto the menu. Brunch in the Face, as these items are collectively called, is as unpretentious as it is concise. Diners will not find variants of eggs Benedict here, nor will hollandaise blanket their food, for the Butcher favors simplicity over flourishes.
Walking into the restaurant, “simple” feels at home. Dark walls and furnishings give the space an aged and den-like feeling, as if the Lower Greenville spot where it resides had been somehow poached from a centuries-old English pub. The menu might have just as easily been transported across the channel with its English breakfast, hash, eggs-in-toast and quiche.
It is curious that Americans have adopted the English breakfast, for we as a society have historically not shown much affinity for things that contain legumes before noon. But we have adopted it nonetheless, carving out a place on our breakfast and brunch tables for this beany, meaty invention of English cookery.
The Blind Butcher’s version ($18) has it all: tender little white beans lapped in sweet sauce; sautéed mushrooms; cubes of potatoes fried crisp; a whole tomato, ripe and palate-cleansing and cooked until pudding-like; a fried egg and sourdough toast. And then there was the meat. The Butcher’s take on an English banger was bang-on with a toothsome, rich texture and crisp casing. The sausage was perfumed with sage, coriander and mace, which combined to lend a warm, almost citrus-like flavor. And the thick strips of English-style bacon proved pleasingly gamy.
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An order of corned beef hash ($12) was somewhat less eventful. A hash is, by definition, a simple affair, often pairing leftovers and odds and ends to create something of interest. The Butcher's version, with potatoes, cubes of corned beef and a fried egg, was pleasing for the first few bites but grew one-note after many more. The bits of house-made corned beef remained a delight until the end, however: rich with crispy exteriors, the beef packed full flavor without being overwhelmed by salt. Indeed, the corned beef was excellent, but showcased somewhat flatly in this stoic hash.
The Blind Butcher’s brunch is a simple affair where the best bites are ones that contain the handiwork from the kitchen's curing and casing efforts. Just don't forget to leave some room for poutine.
The Blind Butcher, 1919 Greenville Ave. Brunch is served 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday through Sunday.