This brunch review is a long time coming. Since meeting a chef like two years ago from Heritage, I knew I needed to try their brunch. I managed to dine there twice for dinner, which also peaked my brunch interest. Dinner was fabulous both times, plus their drinks are incredible too. To say my expectations were high when I stepped in on Sunday for brunch would be accurate. I expected my mind to be blown.
Of course we didn't have reservations, because I just don't roll like that (aka don't have my life together enough for reservations), but were able to grab a seat at the bar. We were greeted promptly with water and menus. Since I am brunch-obsessed, I had already looked at the menu the night before and narrowed my selection down to the the big hot mess (did they name it after me?) or the duck hash.
The guy caddy-corner to us had the big hot mess and I was 90 percent sold. It's a huge plate filled with potatoes, pulled pork, tomato aioli and cream cheese. The only reservation I had on ordering it was that my roommate was ordering the big hot mess, so I thought for the good of the review, I should get something else.
But seeing the big hot mess in person forced my hand and I just had to satiate my salivating mouth by ordering my own big hot mess. In the interim, my roommate and I talked about aioli. What exactly is aioli? As a moonlighting food critique, I found myself stumped. I would define aioli as sauce, but what makes aioli aioli? Perhaps mayo?
I googled, "what is aioli?" and got a perfectly precise definition of "mayonnaise seasoned with garlic." Staying on this tangent, I find it incredible that usage of the word "aioli" is also basically at an all-time high as you can see in this google graph they include in the search:
So aioli is kind of a big deal these days, so it's got to make my dish taste great, right?
Yes. Yes, it did.
I wouldn't attribute the whole meal's together-ness to the aioli, but it was a remarkable addition. As the potatoes are the biggest part of the meal, they are pretty crucial to get right to make the dish. And did they ever at Heritage.
The potatoes were delicately crispy. It was the perfect combination of crispy skin and soft, tender inside. They were seasoned delicately, allowing the aioli and cream cheese combination to hit your senses. Considering the base of the meal is potatoes, it didn't feel that heavy eating it all.
The pulled pork was seasoned with the fresh meaty taste complementing the sauces and potatoes. When you think of this dish as actually just being meat and potatoes, it's insane to think about how much flavor they can pack in it.
Heritage is good, and everyone in Richmond clearly knows that as it was packed. I'd love to take myself back there, but I will either have to keep myself in crews less than 3 so we can cram in at the bar, or I will need to get myself together enough to actually get a reservation. While my expectations were high, Heritage's service, thoughtful yet managed menu options and delivery of hearty but tasteful plates exceeded even the highest of my desires.
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