The Grand Buffet

Easter Brunch at Grand Bohemian is a feast for the eyes and all appetites.

By Jan Walsh

I am not easily impressed. Yet The Grand Buffet at Habitat Feed and Social is the best I have ever experienced. Fine cruise lines are the closest, comparable buffets. On this Easter Sunday, we are seated at the table of our preference on the patio, which is also reminiscent of the deck of a luxury cruise ship. It is 75 degrees with a light breeze. Everyone is wearing sunglasses, and ladies are in sundresses. And over and above the rails are views of Mountain Brook’s Lane Parke rooftops.

Inside there are three separate rooms full of fabulous fare. After ordering a bottle of French bubbly, at a nice price point, we make our way to the Wine Blending Room for displays of Seafood and Charcuterie. The seafood spread boasts pickled Gulf shrimp, raw Bayou La Batre oysters, scrumptious seafood salad, smoked fish dip, and both cocktail and cucumber mignonette, and fresh lemon slices. We have it all. This course pairs beautifully with Ferrandiere Blanc de Blanc. Made of 100 percent Chardonnay in Limoux of Languedoc grapes. Limoux produces four AOC designations, three of which are sparkling wines. The first French sparkling wine was made in Limoux, even before Champagne made champagne. Served cold at proper temperature, this crisp, dry wine presents a lovely and consistent effervescence and a creamy mouth feel with notes of lemon, apple fruit, and toast. The charcuterie table is a work of art and a party waiting to happen. Uncured Italian meats… salame, prosciutto, soppressa, mortadella, and more are folded, curled, and made into flowers. We pair these marvelous meats with a spectacle of gourmet cheeses, nuts, Italian olives, cornichons, pickled okra, and crackers are more than we can sample. We need nothing more but can’t stop here!

In the Cooking School room breakfast and brunch fare is to the right and lunch dishes to the left. But why choose? We start with fresh fruit of blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries, yogurt cups topped with fresh berries, fresh melon assortment, and smoked salmon. Continuing to work the room, we pile on soft scrambled eggs, crisp bacon, splendid local sausages, creamy and spicy sausage gravy, and tasty pimento cheese grits. At the end of this presentation are hot oatmeal and a delightful array of muffins, pastries, Southern biscuits, and breads with a toaster to warm or toast them, along with butter and jams. Omelets cooked to order from the kitchen are also an option. To the left is a carving station, where lamb and roast beef are carved for our plates. Accompanying the meats are lunch dishes: sweet potato casserole topped with marshmallows, creamy mashed potatoes, and roasted Brussel sprouts. And we enjoy more than our share of this meal’s savory entrée course.

Desserts are displayed in the Billiards Room, along with a box of toy Easter eggs, which I can’t resist. Simple desserts of colorful jellybeans and malted milk balls, cookies galore, and white chocolate covered pretzels please kids of all ages. Fancy cakes, deep dish pies, and a stunning selection of petite fours round out this final course. Kev selects and swoons over a piece of caramel cake. And I can’t choose. So I enjoy every petite four on this dazzling display.

We are wowed by quality, selection, and preparation, and presentation of The Grand Buffet. Everything is at proper temperature, and well-spaced so there are no lines even though the event is sold out. So impressed that before we departed, we made reservations for Grand Bohemian’s Grand Brunch on Mother’s Day with “The Boys!”

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