When Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne opened A.O.C. in 2003, “small plates” wasn't the overused buzzword that it is today. That sort of dining — noshy and wine-friendly, graze for a few hours, keep the plates coming until we cry uncle — lends itself to the night, which is one reason why the two never opened the restaurant during the day. After all, they had Lucques for lunch.
But that's about to change: Next weekend, the duo finally unleashes weekend brunch at their Third Street wine bar. Bring on the duck confit and wild mushroom hash.
Customers have been hounding Goin and Styne to open during the day for years, and they finally caved. “Now that we've seen the success of brunch at Tavern, we felt it was time here,” says Goin.
You'll see influences from both Tavern and Lucques on the menu, especially since dishes will be fully composed, straying from the small plates format. Look for hangar steak and eggs with black olive hollandaise; smoked fish with goat's-milk cream cheese, cucumber and tomato; and from the wood-fired oven, ricotta pancakes with huckleberries, or pain perdu with caramelized apples and smoked bacon. Everything hovers between the $10 and $19 mark.
The always-stellar wine list will be available, but Styne is full advantage of the produce they pick up at the farmers' markets for some seasonal sippers. Think: blood orange mimosas, or the Myanmar, “tangerine, basil and bubbles,” she says.
And another boon for the neighborhood: the cheese bar will be turned into a larder of sorts, where you can grab pastries, charcuterie, breads and cheeses to go, without having to trek all the way to Brentwood.
“It's just natural, since we can make enough to supply both locations,” says Goin. Mid-City, rejoice.
Weekend brunch will begin April 9, served Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.