At many restaurants, brunch can feel like a completely separate operation. The restaurant does one thing for lunch and dinner, and then they make some omlettes, cook some bacon, and scramble some eggs.
Not at Libertine.
Libertine’s weekend brunch feels exactly like the restaurant does: interesting cuts of meat, full of flavor, ready for sharing. At first, the menu was a bit overwhelming because there are 45 items under seven sections, not counting the oysters section. Some of the things are from the regular menu (the showstopping $20 bacon chop, the always fun bone marrow toast with onion jam), but mixed in you’ll find the just-for-brunch foods. (Note to Libertine: I wish you would highlight the brunch-only things on the menu.)
WHAT TO ORDER
Whiskey Caramel Pecan Rolls ($6). Perfect for sharing among a group of two or four. The Vietnamese cinnamon gives a nice depth, and the whiskey in the caramel shines.
The Classic ($10). My 9-year-old got two eggs, lovely house-made pork/garlic/sage sausage, and a tasty English muffin. The soft-scrambled eggs were incredibly creamy, with little chunks of blue crab and avocado mixed in. Light and delicious.
Chicken & Waffles ($16). Three nice-sized pieces of jalapeño-buttermilk fried chicken, on top of bourbon-bacon waffles. It’s a beautiful dish, the jalapeño was just enough to give a hint of spice, and the chicken was great.
Ham Steak ($19). Yabba dabba do! Fred Flintstone stopped in Calhoun Square and dropped off an enormous ham steak. Inch-thick with a bourbon glaze, it was topped with a fried egg and served on hash browns. So thick, so juicy, so good. Don’t let the price tag scare you—four people could easily share this dish and be pretty full.
WHAT I’D SKIP
Dutch Baby ($11). It was lovely, but I expected a Dutch Baby popover pancake to show up in a cast iron pan, all puffed up, and then deflate. The show must happen in the kitchen because the plate had a pretty pancake with some fruit on it. It’s just that there are more exciting options on the menu.
Bloody Marys ($8 or $14 for bottomless). I love a Bloody, but all three of Libertine’s (rye whiskey, vodka, and tequila) were watery and difficult to tell apart.
Libertine was bright and lively and the service was warm and friendly. The crowd on Sunday morning at 11 a.m. was a nice mix of families, groups of young friends, and couples. We were visited by a very friendly manager, and overall had a great experience. I only saw one bartender, so drinks were a little slow to arrive. Otherwise, I’d highly recommend Libertine as a spot on your brunch rotation.
Libertine, 3001 Hennepin Ave., Mpls., libertinempls.com