Bloody Marys and Mascarpone Crepe at The House Brasserie in Scottsdale
Welcome to Brunched, where Chow Bella samples local restaurants' offerings for our favorite meal. Hey, you get to sleep in and eat breakfast -- what's not to like?
Buchanan Wam mascarpone crepe with fig, huckleberry, strawberry, mint and hazelnut honey
What: The House Brasserie
Where: 6936 E. Main Street, Scottsdale, 480-634-1600
When: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday and Sunday
How Much: $8 - $18
Mood: It's pretty hard not to fall in love with the Old World aesthetic of The House, a narrow, dimly lit space whose flocked wallpaper, crystal chandeliers and gilt-framed mirrors conjure the French cabarets and bordellos of the late 19th Century. You half expect to see Toulouse-Lautrec sipping absinthe at the bar. Instead you'll find a mix of customers -- high brows, hipsters and oldsters with hip replacements, all there for a crack at Matt Carter's eclectic menu. I've yet to sit at a red leatherette banquette. The bar (and its stunning mirrored back bar) call to me, as does the tree-shaded patio, framed by a white picket fence. For al fresco dining, al fresco drinking or just al fresco hanging around, it's one of the very best spots in town -- quaint and utterly charming.
Food: I've eaten at The House four or five times, snacking mostly, which is easy to do here, given the small plates format. And most of those times, I've left happy. Carter's all-over-the-map menu is broader and far more fun than the so-called "re-imagined classic Mediterranean dishes," mentioned on the website. Mediterranean? Who even wants to characterize a restaurant that way in 2013?
The first thing you should know about brunch is that it's really just everything on the "lunch" and "afternoon" menus (charcuterie, salads, sandwiches and sides) plus two breakfast-y items and one dessert-like crepe. And that's just fine, but if there are only three brunch items, all three brunch items should probably be magnificent.