Primo Brunch

Bocca Ristorante breaks some eggs in sell out Italian Sparkling Wine Brunch.

By Jan Walsh

Ever wonder what Chef Tom Saab would do with brunch? You are not alone. Bocca Ristorante took a crack at Sunday brunch and sold-out all reservations in less than an hour, without even sharing the menu! And I was the first reservation.

Today we arrive for our 10:30 a.m. booking and are seated at our favorite banquette beneath the sky light. Chef Tom is in the kitchen cooking the dishes on this menu, which we are seeing for the first time… Three courses are paired with four Italian sparkling wines, by Wine Director/Sommelier, Carlos Cisneros. On the back is the Brunch Cocktails list, from which we order BoccaMary and Peach Bellini. The handcrafted Mary is a mighty mix of vodka, Ancho Reyes, and Tomato. The Bellini might be the prettiest ever, made with Ketel Peach and orange Blossom Vodka, fresh Peach Puree, and prosecco. I asked Bartender, Tim O’Rourke his secrets. View Bartender Secrets

The first course is Prosciutto and Melon paired with dry Lamberti Prosecco Rosé and a drier Montagner Brut Prosecco. “Processco rosés are new to the market, due to a change in Italian wine laws. And this rosé wakes up the taste buds for brunch, extra dry, but not too dry, with notes of watermelon and strawberry and a fruity effervescence,” describes Cisneros. Its crisp, fresh, and bright notes heighten the juicy mellowness of the honeydew, the marvelous muskiness of the ripe cantaloupe, and the sweet and salty, melt in your mouth prosciutto. Off to a lovely start… As we begin to sip the second sparkler, he explains, “We are also starting to see drier versions of prosecco being made. The Montagner is a much drier style of Prosecco because it is brut. It has fresh yellow apple and tangy lemon flavors, a light effervescence, and is very refreshing.”

Looking over the seven entrée options, Kev is tempted by the Sunday Gravy of braised beef and pork with mini veal meatballs and garganelli but decides on the Eggs Benedict. Oh, my! I can’t decide either. Avocado Toast with bacon poached egg and summer berries sounds delightful. Egg Frittata with Italian sausage, spinach, and potato also sounds amazing. But put tomato in a dish title, and I am all in for the Tomato Basil Torta. The entrée wine is Sartori Love Story from Sartori di Verona winery, in the city of Verona. This city was the setting for another great love story: Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. “Made of 100 percent Garganega, it is just dry enough, creamy, and rich… serious but not too serious,” Cisneros explains. With notes of apple, bread crust, a hint of vanilla, and persistent bubbles, this elegant, food friendly wine will marry well with any of the seven entrée offerings, including our selections.

Kev’s benedict is a classic Italian take on this hearty dish. Atop focaccia, crispy prosciutto and poached farm eggs are crowned with silky, rich Hollandaise. On first fork cut, the orange yolk runs gently onto the plate, as desired, coating the bread and crisp, golden breakfast potatoes with their golden goodness. The plate is also embellished with fresh, local, and juicy strawberries and blackberries. Highly recommended! My tasty torta is served on an elongated bun, crusty on the outside and chewy on the inside. The bread is slathered with a punchy basil pesto and overfilled with thick slices of fresh heirloom tomatoes, house made, creamy mozzarella, and topped with fresh arugula. The torta is accompanied by a generous side of shoestring fries, which we share.

Ferrari Brut finishes this course and introduces dessert of Bomboloni, served family style. “This is a Champagne lover’s wine. Made of 100 percent Chardonnay, in traditional Méthode champenoise style,” Cisneros shares. Balanced notes of yeast, from 20 months of bottle aging, golden delicious apples, and white flower tickle my nose and delight my Champagne lover’s palate. And the brut rounds out these dreamy Italian Mini Doughnuts that we dip in sweet accompanying icings.

As Chef Tom stops by the table, I encourage another brunch. I expect this wish to be echoed by this inaugural crowd, hopefully bringing it back by popular demand.

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