Ever since the Northeast Social opened in 2009, it’s kept reverse-banker’s hours, of sorts: 4 p.m. until late enough, Monday through Saturday, closed on Sundays. Centrally located for quite a few Northeast neighborhoods, at 359 13th Ave. NE, the limited dinner hours have proven to be effective to quench many a hankering for beer or wine, snack or dinner.
The self-described “American contemporary restaurant with a farm-to-fork agenda” though, might have realized that it was leaving a little bit to be desired.
Enter the Northeast Social’s new brunch program. It stipulates mixed breakfast and lunch service from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., on Saturdays and Sundays, while offering up a completely new menu to take on these newly chartered bits of time.
For a Father’s Day morning brunch, at 10:30 a.m., the Northeast Social was relatively quiet for two diners without their fathers. Seating was instantaneous and indoor our out; we chose outside at a two-top that was somewhat cramped, either because it was between two already occupied tables that had taken their space, or because of an already smallish patio section.
The $7–$8 mimosa seems to dominate most brunch spots that have a liquor license, and the Northeast Social chose not to be an exception. At $7 a pop, the mimosa that morning seemed just fine, and while there is no real benchmark for the perfect mix of sparkling wine and orange juice, a dining companion noted that their seemed to be more booze to juice.
As for the brunch menu more broadly, it’s relatively compact. Without drinks or dessert, it weighs in at a concise eight items, which err on the side of refreshment versus greasy recovery, though there are exceptions.
While a bucket of discarded mussel shells was observed at the table ahead, no doubt the remnants of the Mussels and Fries, with artichokes, bacon, preserved lemon and anise broth ($10), we opted for the Housemade Dago with roasted pepper, chutney, smoked gouda, fried egg and fries ($10), along with the Omelette Du Jour, which consisted, that day, of ham, smoked gouda, Thai chili and tomato ($10).
As an addendum to the mixed greens that came with both the Dago and the Omelette, we order the Mixed Greens Salad with blueberries, pecans, blue cheese and house vinaigrette ($6), though holding the pecans, due to a food allergy.
The Dago, held with two hands, or more adventurously, with one, would have been the size of an unruly softball. It was dissected on plate. The bread was a happily crisp sponge, and the sausage patty center was a juicy but not greasy main attraction, with the smoked Gouda melted well, into it. The supplemental protein of the fried egg was mostly neglected, what with the sandwich eaten with knife and fork. It was big and good; the server conceded he couldn’t finish it, himself.
The Omelette Du Jour was lighter fare, two eggs mostly wrapped around the fillings, as opposed to the fillings mixed within. The ham, smoked gouda and tomato took precedence once found, while the Thai chili proved to be a bit more elusive; this transplant to Minnesota understands the restaurant’s choice to present the Thai chili’s fresh zing of decidedly spicy flavor as a third-string attraction.
Along with the main courses, there was an over abundance of salad. With the brunch entrees it was mixed greens and purples with the same vinaigrette that came with the ordered salad. That salad persisted well, sitting on the sunny side of the table, and was large enough to be a guilt-free-very-light brunch option on its own. The sweet and pungent combination of the blueberries and blue cheese worked well for what became a dessert salad.
The Northeast Social’s brunch, in a lot of ways, is a less stomach-coating alternative to other brunches in the neighborhood, or on the block, like the Modern Café’s. Only the Steak and Eggs (market price) comes with a potato companion, and even with the Dago’s prodigious size and heartiness, it wasn’t nap-inducing, at least after one test. All said and done, one brunch was $45.62 with two drinks, two entrees and a salad. A dining companion said, “I would do it again.” It’s agreed.
359 13th Ave. NE