By Jan Schroder
The Place: The Ritz-Carlton Buckhead
The Drink: Specialties from The Bubble Bar, made with Rotari Brut and
Louis Perdrier Blanc de Blanc
Here’s how to make a girl feel special – a champagne bottle place card holder. That’s what awaited me at a Sunday brunch at The Ritz-Carlton Buckhead in Atlanta this past Sunday. I am now carrying this bottle around in my handbag to set in front of me at all tables in the future. How else are people going to know just how special I am? (And how to spell my last name. It is not spelled STHRDLDER, as a salesclerk later that day wrote. I pulled out my champagne bottle to show her the correct spelling. That’ll show her.)
Several ladies gathered at a large table in a back room for brunch and after enjoying a glass of champagne and being told that no one would be counting how many trips we made to the buffet (magic words!) we all set out to take in the culinary wonders that awaited.
Loved seeing peanut brittle on a dessert buffet, one of my 5 desserts. Yes it’s a lot. But I believe I deserve credit for the 12 others I didn’t get, right? My favorites were the key lime pie (on the right) and the Grand Marnier creme bruleé (at the bottom.)
First I had to check out the new Bubble Bar, where mixologist Christa Sladky serves up delicious bubbly cocktails with house-made ingredients such as fresh fruit purees. What day isn’t improved by the addition of a carefully poured Bellini, or my favorite, the Kir?
Now the challenge was on. There are more than 50 selections here and being The Ritz, everything is artfully displayed. Here are just a few highlights:
• King crab legs, fresh shrimp and oysters – worth it for this alone
• three kinds of caviar – not my thing but a big draw for fish egg aficionados
• roasted rotisserie chicken, with bacon gravy – bacon! Yes!
• prime rib with red wine sauce – bring on the beef
• lobster ravioli – one of my favs
• imported cheeses and charcuterie – with real cheeses made by a cow, not a factory
• crab fritters – fried little bits of yumminess
In addition to that are a huge array of breakfast breads with artisan jams and jellies, freshly made Belgian waffles and omelettes, Eggs Benedict, salads and vegetables.
“Food is like fashion. It needs to keep evolving,” said Erwin Schinnerl, general manager of The Ritz-Carlton Buckhead as he stopped by our table to introduce himself. While some items remain week after week, there are always new additions to explore. I say “Vive la Evolution!”
I paced myself and took small portions of several items. Food and fashion may be evolving, but if I’m not careful, my waistline easily evolves right out of my pants.
But there was the dessert table to explore. Generally I can easily skip dessert, deeming most of them NWC – not worth the calories. Most of them look prettier than they taste. And these were some gorgeous-looking desserts. After a careful perusal I scaled my choices down to five (yes, five!!!) and dug in.
Yes, it’s a bit pricy to eat brunch here and will definitely set you back more than a bagel at Einstein’s. But it’s an elegant, luxurious and memorable meal at a AAA Five Diamond Award-winning restaurant where you can linger with your dining companions and really enjoy well, life.
The Ritz-Carlton Buckhead is at 3434 Peachtree Road, Make a reservation at 404-240-7035 or visit www.opentable.com. Brunch is $59 a person; $15 extra for the Bubble Bar with valet parking included.