Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Brunch at Little Alley Steaks

UntitledSunday morning, my husband told me to get dressed for brunch. "Where are we going?" I asked. It was sort of late in the morning and most brunch places would be packed. Was it really worth it to go out and wait in line for a table somewhere, when I could just scramble some eggs and mix up some muffins in the same amount of time?  "It's a surprise." he told me. I love his surprises. So I got dressed and we went over to Little Alley Steaks to enjoy their Sunday brunch.

Brunch at Little Alley seems like a hidden gem. Everyone knows about Little Alley's fabulous dinner service, featuring melt in your mouth steaks by Linz, a beautiful bourbon bar and amazing sides created with fresh, local ingredients. At night, the restaurant bustles with noise. Expensive people wearing expensive clothes sip expensive wines.  Servers in impossibly white aprons serve sizzling hot steaks on cast iron pans, drizzled with herb infused oils. It's a big, dramatic, exciting place to see and be seen.

But brunch? Quieter. More casual. The dining room is almost empty, except for a few other couples. Our waiter is quietly attentive, rather than the ostentatious "How may I serve you?" attitude they have at dinner. The brunch menu follows Little Alley's aesthetic of picking a couple things to really excel at. They have a selection of omelets with various fillings, as well as the expected "steak and eggs" and several riffs on the eggs Benedict. The menu fills out with an array of salads, appetizers and the surprisingly amazing grilled tofu (Seriously. This is a must try.), all from the dinner menu.

I tried the filet mignon and eggs benedict, featuring velvety soft sous vide eggs, beurre blanc sauce and perfectly medium slices of filet mignon over a toasted english muffin. It came with a choice of cheese grits or roasted fingerling potatoes. The grits were soft and creamy with just the right amount of gooey cheese and topped with crisp bacon crumbles. It reminded me of risotto.

My husband had the steak and eggs. It featured another perfectly cooked steak, alongside two sunny side up eggs with delicate, crispy brown edges, a toasted english muffin and a green peppercorn sauce in a tiny gravy boat. I want my own gravy boat! Do you have any idea how much I love gravy? Don't answer that.

The prices are lower than for dinner, but still a bit higher than you'd pay at Thumbs Up or Flying Biscuit. This isn't a neighborhood flap jack joint. It's intended to be an occasion, just like dinner. But if you want to sample their cuisine, without dealing with the crowds, this is a good opportunity.

So why is brunch at Little Alley so under appreciated? It might be the lack of advertising. They don't list the brunch menu on the website. It gets an occasional mention on their Facebook page. We knew about it from the placard they hang on the sidewalk on Sunday mornings while brunch is being served. It seems very much like the owners want to keep brunch a little quieter and less fraught than the dinner hours. And that's just fine with me. I like knowing that when my husband wants to treat me special, there's a lovely secret brunch place waiting for me on Canton street.


I get asked frequently about prices for Little Alley's brunch after publishing this piece. Since they don't post a menu anywhere, it's tough to decide if this is within your price range. So I snapped this picture on a recent visit. This is only half the menu. The other side is the stuff they also serve for dinner and you can find those prices elsewhere. Hope this helps you decide to visit Little Alley. It's one of the best restaurants in Atlanta and worth a trip any time of day.

UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: Little Alley now offers a brunch buffet. The price is $26.95 per person, according to their Facebook page. I haven't been yet, but I bet it's as amazing as the rest of their food. Someone go check it out for me!

  Little Alley Steaks & Seafare on Urbanspoon

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