Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Committee: Greek Inspired Brunch

Previously, I reviewed the intriguing Greek spirits that are served at Committee, a new Greek/Mediterranean restaurant in the Seaport district. However, I haven't yet written about their cuisine, except for several positive mentions on Facebook and Twitter. I've now visited Committee on three occasions, each time being impressed with their cuisine, from their homemade Hummus & Pita Bread to their hearty Poikilia Kreaton, a sumptuous platter of grilled meats. Consulting Chef Diane Kochilas has created some amazing dishes which have been well executed by the Committee kitchen staff. I'll definitely be returning there, to experience more of their delicious cuisine.

Committee has recently begun offering Brunch service, on Saturdays and Sundays, from 11am-3pm, and this past weekend I dined there as a media guest. The menu is an intriguing mix of dishes, with a Greek twist on several usual breakfast dishes. The menu includes 3 Breakfast Pies ($5-$6) which were inspired by Greek street food, 12 Meze ($6-$16) such as Feta Saganaki, Grape Leaf Dolmades, and a Greek Cheese Plate; 8 Breakfast options ($9-$14) such as Greek Yogurt Pancakes, Tsoureki French Toast, and Baklava Oatmeal; 6 Lunch options ($12-$16) such as Artichoke Moussaka, a grass-fed beef Burger, and Spanakopita Grilled Cheese. And if you want to share breakfast, you can order the Shakshouka ($24), which serves two or more guests.

There is plenty of diversity on the menu so it will appeal to whatever your preference. I also feel the menu is reasonably priced for the quality and quantity of the food. There is a nice balance of traditional Greek dishes with some more unique Greek inspired twists. Though it was only their second weekend of brunch service, the restaurant was fairly crowded and I'd recommend you make reservations to ensure you get a table and don't have to wait.

Besides the food menu, they also offer about 8 Brunch Cocktails ($6-$14), from a Spiked Nescafe Frappe to a Stamos Gin Fizz. Groups can also order a Champagne Tray ($48), which includes a bottle of one of three Sparkling wines, a rotating special of freshly squeezed juices, and fresh garnishes. For a $12 upgrade, you can get your choice of 3 nips of different spirits. There are also numerous wines by the glass, beer, juices, and coffees

Above, is a small cup of Greek Coffee ($5),  black, dark and strong. It'll help to wake you up early in the morning.

Their variation on the Bloody Mary is the Bloody Marietta ($10), made with vodka, olive tapenade, EVOO, rigani, basil, Tabasco, and a spicy feta stuffed olive. It was a savory and delicious variation, with intriguing olive notes, a mild spiciness and seemed lighter than other such cocktails. It went down very easy and makes you crave another.

The Pigs & Booze ($14) is made with bacon washed bourbon, maple syrup, orange & chocolate bitters, & candied bacon (though the candied bacon seemed to be missing from this cocktail).  Despite that omission, the drink was smooth and delicious, with a subtle bacon and smoky element. It wasn't overly sweet and the orange and chocolate notes were mild, accenting the drink without taking over.

The Santorini Soda ($12) is made with Keel vodka, ouzo, vanilla, grapefruit, lime, and soda water. Ouzo cocktails aren't found in many places but based on this example, maybe they should be. The mild black licorice flavor blended well with the grapefruit and hint of vanilla. It was refreshing and bright, and even if you're not a huge fan of back licorice, I'd still recommend you sample this cocktail. This might make an interesting slushy.

Everyone receives a basket of complimentary Breakfast Bread, accompanied by butter or jelly, and bread has cranberries. It is a little sweet, with citrus accents and a mild tartness.

I tried two of their Breakfast Pies, including the Bougatsa ($6), which is made with phyllo, custard, ground cinnamon, and powdered sugar. Buttery, flaky phyllo holds a sweet and creamy custard which makes for an excellent sweet treat. And with two pieces, you can easily share.

Another of the Breakfast pies is the Tyropita ($6), made from phyllo, feta, kasseri, vlahotiri, and rigani. Kayseri & vlahotiri are Greek cheeses while rigani is Greek oregano. So, this is essentially a cheese pie and the phyllo was again buttery and flaky, and the savory and salty cheeses were creamy and delicious. This was certainly one of my favorite dishes of the entire brunch.

One of the Meze is Souvlaki ($16 ), two skewers of marinated lamb with rigani, lemon, and tzatziki sauce. The lamb was tender and savory, with a nice blend of spices and herbs. As a lamb lover, Committee earns my hearty kudos as every lamb dish I've eaten here has been excellent. For example, the Lahmajun (on the dinner menu), is basically a ground, spiced lamb pizza on a pita and it is superb.

For Breakfast entrees, the Classic Greek Omelet ($14) is made with spinach, dill, scallions, & feta, and is accompanied with patates tiganites and grilled pita. Light and fluffy, herbal and salty, it brought a nice balance of savory flavors.

The Breakfast Gyro ($14) comes with eggs, grilled haloumi, loukaniko, and florina pepper sauce, wrapped in pita, and served with patates tiganites. They asked me how I wanted my eggs and I went for over easy, wanting a runny yolk. Yes, that made the sandwich a bit messy so I used a knife and fork. However, I loved the taste, with the fluffy pita bread, the nice texture and salty edge of the halloumi cheese and the spices of the loukaniko sausage. The pepper sauce added a nice savory element. They didn't skimp on the fillings for the pita and if you ordered scrambled eggs, you probably could have eaten it with your hands.

Overall, Brunch was delicious and I want to return to check out more of their offerings. Service was very good, consistent with my previous experiences. Consistency has also been a common element for their cuisines and drinks. Committee is an excellent restaurant to experience more traditional Greek cuisine, wines and spirits, but also for more modern and inventive variations. It has become one of the highlights of the Seaport district, a non-chain restaurant with compelling food and drink, all at a reasonable price. Check them out for dinner, lunch, brunch or one of their wine dinners.

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