Easter brunch slightly off at excellent eatery

After leaving town for a short getaway from the snow, Mrs. Portlandeater and I returned to cold weather and decided to celebrate Easter with one last hoorah of caloric indulgence – brunch. We had noon reservations Five Fifty-Five. The restaurant, named after it’s location at 555 Congress St. is probably best known for its dinners which offer a number of noteworthy options including a Grilled Caesar and Truffled Lobster “Mac and Cheese”.

I’d never eaten brunch there, but based on my experience with their evening service, I expected more of the same high-quality experience. The menu had a nice mix of breakfast and lunch items, and though I was primarily interested in the former, I noted the latter to include options with lamb, fish, and fowl. I didn’t suspect a single breakfast plate would kill my by-that-point-in-the-day accumulated hunger, so I first did some searching for a small plate with which to start as she ordered a Coffee.

In my attempt to skip anything sweet like the Pastry Basket or Hot Cross Buns, my wife and I settled on sharing the Cheese plate – crostini, fruit compote, candied nut brittle, honey – choosing both the beemster x-o gouda and manchego as our cheeses. As her main course, she went for French Toast – Maine blueberries, cinnamon whipped cream, maple syrup – and I opted for the Sunday Morning Breakfast – cheddar and chive scramble, hard-wood smoked bacon, house made sausage, home-fries, toast.

Our cheese plate came on a board with the items indicated on the menu, the honey drizzled underneath. The compote was apricot which I though to be good because I’m a fan of the peach-like fruit. It seemed as though the plate might have been a little short on crostini based on the amount of cheese we had, but I figured I’d make the ten pieces work by adding more topping to each one.

The cheese was a strong chioce and I found the brittle particularly tasty because it wasn’t too sweet. It also had a slightly charred flavor which pleased the mouth. We consumed crostini after cheese-topped crostini until it was all gone and then waited for our main courses. Unfortunately, despite the restaurant being only moderately busy, that wait turned out to be pretty long.

It felt like an eternity, but it was actually about 30 minutes from when we finished our cheese until the time we received the rest of our food. My wife’s whipped cream was on the side as she had requested. My meal wasn’t notable in appearance other than the sausage which was about the circumference of a 50 cent piece and the thickness of my toast.

My first bites of scramble were quite good. I enjoyed the cheese and chive combo. I didn’t find the toast and home fries particularly noteworthy, but the potatoes did go well with the ketchup and hot sauce I had requested. The bacon and sausage were tasty, but the sausage was a little small which really became apparent once I cut into it and realized it might only have about four bites to it. I tried a bite of my wife’s French toast and liked the blueberry and cinnamon whipped cream additions to it.

We finished our food and paid the $44 tab. The meal was fine, but either the wait lowered my enthusiasm or I’m just too used to their dinner which I really love, because it didn’t quite live up to my expectations. However, the prices were relatively standard for the city, so to be fair, I did get what I paid for. The biggest issue was definitely the delay in receiving our food. That needs some work, especially considering the modest crowd when I was there. Maybe I’ll stick to dinner when I go back.

Five Fifty-Five 555 Congress St.
207-761-0555

Stay hungry.

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