Easter Brunch 2011

Where to eat on this high holy day of pigging out

Get ready for Easter Brunch, 2011.

On this high holy day of pigging out, luxe (and not so luxe) hotel restaurants have long dominated the Easter Brunch game, with extravagantly overindulgent buffets and the scalability to accommodate pastel-dressed families (and sticky fingered children). But many restaurants do a swell job as well, offering up prix fixe and a la carte meals catering to the steam-table averse.

Whatever your persuasion, budget or taste, there’s an invitation to the table on April 24…

Most Extravagantabulous Easter Brunch:  Sante at Sonoma Mission Inn
Money may not be able to buy happiness, but it can buy you access to a brunch whose sheer magnitude and luxury will at least put a smile of contentment on your face for a few days. The Michelin-starred resort restaurant gilds every lily with an all-you-can-eat spread that includes jumbo shrimp cocktail, Loch Duart salmon, organic chicken roulades, charcuterie, artisan cheeses and five salads to start. Chefs carving stations wield five kinds of smoked fish with caviar; roast prime rib, and Marin Sun Farms’ leg of lamb. From 10am to 2pm, toques make omelets to order, and from 2-6pm, the station switches to classic crepes to order. Entrees include braised short ribs, classic Benedicts, salmon, mushroom ravioli with black truffle in addition to grilled vegetable platters, a bread station and more than 20 desserts (croissant bread pudding, peanut butter crisp with salted caramel mousse, panna cotta, chocolate strawberries, macaroons, fruit “martinis”). A hefty $89 pp, $44.50 for children keeps it classy, but even high rollers may need to loosen their belts a few notches to accommodate the bounty of good eats. Live entertainment, Monsieur Easter Bunny, clown and egg hunts at 11am and 2pm. Reservations required. 100 Boyes Blvd, Sonoma, 939-2415.

Rendez Vous Bistro: 10am to 4pm Sunday; a la carte menu includes crab stuffed deviled eggs, eggs Benedict, brandied pecan french toast, grilled spiced lamb loin, steak frites. Kids under 10 eat free.

Della Fattoria: Throughout the weekend, breakfast and lunch all day with mimosas, eggs Bennie, biscuits and gravy, polenta and egg, crab Louis, chicken pot pie, braised baby artichoke.

Santi: 10am to 2:30pm Sunday; eggs Benedetto with brown butter Hollandaise, pork and beans with slow roasted pork belly, Frangelico french toast, wood oven pizzas, roasted leg of lamb with polenta. 2097 Stagecoach Road, Suite 100, Santa Rosa, 528-1549

Breakaway Cafe: Sunday a la carte lunch with spring omelet, petit Filet Mignon and Eggs, lemon sour cream pancakes with strawberries and creme fraiche. 19101 Sonoma Hwy, Sonoma, 996-5949.

Rocker Oysterfellers: 10am to 3pm features creole deviled farm eggs, praline bacon, picnic ham on buttermilk biscuits with pepper jelly, hot cross buns, duck & dumplings, Southern style eggs Benedict with braised greens and black eyed peas; pulled lamb tostadas, with plenty of cocktails from the bar including Mason Jar Bacon Spiked Bloody Mary’s with house pickled beans. Easter eggs hidden throughout the patio for kids. 14415 Highway One, Valley Ford

Best Brunch to Eat in Your Pajamas: Pearson and Co.
Who needs to cook when there’s all that egg-finding and candy-eating to do. Pearson & Co. offers up their a la carte menu with everything from soup and deviled eggs to quiche, Brandy Orange Lamb Shank, spiral cut ham and leek and saffron risotto. Orders must be placed by Thursday April 21. Full menu at pearsonandco.com, 2759 Fourth St., Santa Rosa, 541-3868.

Best Spot for an Outdoor Brunch: French Garden
A new(ish) chef in the kitchen has brought a much-needed breath of life to this long-struggling Sebastopol restaurant that’s always had huge potential.  Exec chef Patrick Quillec embraces the bio-intensively grown produce from the restaurant’s own three-acre farm, making for a truly farm-to-table experience. Easter Buffet includes creme brulee french toast, eggs Benedict with citrus hollandaise or ginger carrot soup; beet and goat cheese salad; Clementine, asparagus and argil salad with ricotta; halibut with peas and carrot butter sauce; braised short ribs; roast ham with maple syrup glaze; Masami Wagyu beef top round; roast leg of lamb; Swiss chard; spiced potatoes, housemaid sausage chorizo and homemade breads (including scones with Clementine jam). For dessert: eclairs, Napolean, chocolate jelly bean cupcakes. $38 pp adults, $19 children; kids 5 and under free. 10am to 3pm, 8050 Bodega Ave., Sebastopol, 824-2030.

Best High Roller Brunch in Santa Rosa: John Ash & Co.
Get someone with deep pockets to treat you to this top-notch holiday spread. Instead of a buffet, Chef Tom does a hearty Easter menu with some of the restaurant’s best bets: Sonoma Onion Soup, Dungeness crab cakes, Costeaux sourdough French Toast, smoked Gleason farms pork tenderloin with crispy pork belly, Gleason Farms chicken and waffles, braised veal cheeks and lamb tenderloin. Entrees from $16 to $27, brunch from 10am to 3pm. John Ash and Co., 4350 Barnes Rd,. Santa Rosa, 575.7350.

Best brunch before taking a bike ride: Brasserie, Hyatt Vineyard Creek
Located just steps from the Prince Memorial Greenway, the sunny Brasserie in Santa Rosa’s Railroad Square offers up an a la carte Easter brunch menu featuring a lineup of breakfasty Benedicts and scrambles if you’re in a rush or heartier multi-coursed dishes including a Humboldt Fog tomato galette; sesame crusted seared ahi tuna; Seafood Louie Salad; grilled Scottish salmon with sour cream chive mashed potatoes; or roast leg of lamb if you’ve got a little more time. Dishes are $10 to $24. Chef Richard Whipple has a deft touch that makes this a solid pick head and shoulders above typical hotel steam table spreads. 170 Railroad Street, Santa Rosa, CA 95401 Tel 707-636-7388.

Best Student-Chef Brunch: CIA Greystone
For the first year, the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena will feature an a la carte Easter brunch prepared by chefs training to work in the country’s top restaurants. Egg frittata, Spring Lamb Tartare with quail eggs ($14), roast ham with Gruyere gratin and asparagus ($24), strawberry crepes with lemon creme ($8). Children’s menu available. 2555 Main Street, St. Helena, 967-1010.

Best Secret Spot: Glen Ellen Inn Oyster Grill & Martini Bar
Nestled quietly away in Glen Ellen, this couple-run restaurant has upped it’s game, now serving an eclectic all-day menu with small plates & big salads in additional to it’s signature oysters and heartier fare (Sourdough crusted Rack of Spring Lamb with rhubarb-huckleberry pan sauce, parmesan potatoes and local vegetables, or Crab-Stuffed Tilapia with Saffron & Meyer Lemon cream, cous-cous and arugula micro greens). For Easter, they’ll add several brunch additions including Apple Crisp French Toast ( $10.95 ), Eggs Benedict with pancetta, rustic potatoes & fresh fruit ($12.95 ) or Hangtown Fry ( $13.95).  And of course, there will be plenty of Martinis in Easter pastel shades of pink, blue,and green. 13670 Arnold Drive, Glen Ellen, 996-6409. Brunch/Lunch 10:30am to 4pm; dinner 5:00-9pm.

Brunch in the Country That’s Close to the City: Zazu
Zazu Restaurant and Farm is just a few miles from downtown Santa Rosa, but this country roadhouse feels a world away, surrounded by farms and vineyards.  Hop on in for their $37 pp prix fixe that includes maple bacon donuts; raspberry breakfast buns, chocolate croissants; their Cochon 555-winning “Bacon in the Batter” waffles; fried green tomato BLT Benedict; oxtail and yukon potato skillet with a fried duck egg; Hangtown fry; grilled asparagus with lemon aioli and strawberries with creme fraiche. 3535 Guerneville Road, Santa Rosa, 523-4814.

Wildest Easter Brunch: Safari West
Hunt for Mr. Hare in the wilds of Safari West after brunch in the Savannah Cafe. The six-foot bunny is on the trail of his old rival, Mr. Tortoise and will leave Carrot Clues along the way. 10am and 1pm, April 12. 3115 Porter Creek Road, Santa Rosa, (707) 579-2551. $65 adults, $30 for children.

Most Schnitzel-tastic Brunch: Cafe Europe
A hearty antidote to anything smoked in tea leaves or nestled on a bed of microgreens, Cafe Europe is old school, Old World, rib-stickin’ Deutches-essen. For Easter Brunch, they’ll serve up standards like salmon and crab eggs Benedict along with Wiener Schnitzel and berry bacon Belgium waffles, Coho salmon with mango salsa and apple strudel for dessert. $25pp, 10-2:30pm. A la cart dinner Easter dinner includes wild boar ragout, veal cordon blue, lamb osso buck, roast duck, 4:30 to 8pm. In the St. Francis Shopping Center, 104 Calistoga Road, Santa Rosa, 707.538-5255

Bloody Great: Healdsburg Bar & Grill
Though it’s not exactly brunch, haute burgery, Healdsburg Bar and Grill, plans to offer up their popular Bloody Mary Bar for Easter, in addition to their usual burger and salad fare — a nice touch for tired bunnies. 245 Healdsburg Ave, (707) 433-3333.

Best Help The Community Easter Breakfast: The Kenwood Depot located in the heart of Kenwood in the renowned Sonoma Valley, is a historic landmark. The preservation of the Depot is supported by the Kenwood Community Club. Their major fundraiser is our annual Easter breakfast. This year it is on Saturday April 23. We are excited to introduce Harvey’s Mini Donuts as an added bonus to our homemade, cooked with love breakfast. More details

More Easter Buffets:
Jack & Tony’s Whisky Bar: Strawberries with yogurt, smoked salmon crostini; chilled asparagus; biscuits and gravy; corned beef hash, eggs benedict. $22pp, kids $15. 115 Fourth St., Santa Rosa, 526-4347.

Corks Restaurant at Russian River Vineyards:
Dungeness crab bites with Sebastopol Asian Pear, Ham and mushroom strata with home fries; smoked salmon scramble, asparagus omelette with potatoes, $34.95pp. Children’s menu available. 5700 Highway 116 North; Forestville, 887-3344.

Did we miss one of your favorites? Add it in the comments below!