I have failed you all and not stayed true to the name of this blog! I checked my “Brunch” category and realized I had not added a brunch post in months. I rectified that problem this past weekend with a trip to Rustic Oak Gastro Pub and Wine with my foodie group friends. Rustic Oak is a quaint restaurant which serves a brunch buffet on Saturdays and Sundays. It is located right off of Richmond and 59, in Montrose. We stopped by for a Sunday brunch and overall had a great time.
The Setup: This place is situated in a house and I felt right at home. The dining areas are broken off into the various rooms. There is such attention to detail in the space with beautiful decorations that stay true to the rustic theme. The area that I imagine was the kitchen in the original home, still serves as the kitchen. A bar in the kitchen serves as the buffet. As you walk through the buffet, the kitchen is open so you can see what the chef is cooking up next. My aunts are caterers who cook for every family function. This setup reminded me at Thanksgiving at my aunt’s house, where everyone heads to the kitchen to pile up their plate buffet style and then makes their way to the room of their choice to eat. With that said, I felt right at home in this space.
Drinks: They offer bottomless mimosas for $10 per person I am the light weight who prefers more orange juice with a little bubbly. My friends want a glass of champagne with a splash of orange juice. The mimosas were great to me, but my friends wanted more bubbly. The waitstaff graciously offered us an extra bottle so they could mix the mimosas as they liked. Places like Max’s Wine Dive give you a carafe of orange juice and a bottle of champagne then you just mix it yourself. More restaurants should go this route. That way everyone at the table sharing in the bottomless mimosas can make them how they like.
Food: No exaggeration, I liked everything that my fork touched. When we walked in I grabbed an old menu from Mother’s Day. I think the food on the buffet varies from week to week. We did not have any homemade croissants or other homemade breads as the menu listed. I had collard greens, red velvet pancakes, bacon, shrimp & grits, salmon risotto, fried chicken, some seasoned chicken dish and a banana bread pudding. My favorite things were the red velvet pancakes, the seasoned chicken breast dish and the bread pudding. It was so good! We stayed at brunch long enough that I was able to sit, let my food settle and grab some more. #TeamGreedy
The Service: Adding to the idea of being in someone’s home for brunch, all of the waitstaff seemed like they were family or friends of the owner and just there to help him out. Since this is a buffet, there is not too much for the waitstaff to do, but they just seemed unequipped to handle the brunch rush. Friendly and pleasant yes, but they seemed to lack experience in serving guests. For example, it felt like before we had finished our second round at the buffet, our waiter brought our bill without us requesting it. I know some find that helpful and think of it as “pay when you are ready.” I see it as hurry up on out of here. We let the bill sit there for probably an hour or so. The waiter came back and said she was closing out for the day and needed us to pay. We forked over our cards to pay, but as we were leaving she was still working *stale face.* Again, for the most part, everyone was welcoming and friendly, but there were just basic things that I think an experienced waiter knows that were lacking here.
I have read mixed reviews about Rustic Oak, but I can only speak on my experience and I will say it was positive! Ultimately the food has to stand out for me to want to go back and Rustic Oak’s food is great. I will add that their brunch is $30, which is a tad higher than comparable brunch buffets like Baba Yega that offers more food options for $25. I did see that Rustic Oak is offering a groupon for their Saturday brunch for two for only $49, so if you are planning on hitting them up grab the groupon!