Champagne Sunday Brunch at Restaurant X and Bully Boy Bar in Congers, NY
One of the Hudson Valley’s 12 best dishes in 2012: Champagne Sunday brunch at Restaurant X and Bully Boy Bar in Congers, NY (Rockland County)
The mood is set when you arrive for brunch at Restaurant X and Bully Boy Bar and discover there’s valet parking. You hand over your car; walk sedately into the pretty, rural restaurant; and settle in at a nicely appointed table, perhaps by the fireplace, or overlooking the pond. A genial server pours the first mimosa or glass of Champagne, and brings you a slice of, say, walnut bread. Warning to first-timers: Do not eat the whole piece. The experience is about to begin, and you need room.
Sunday brunch here is akin to being a guest in an old-world country house where the butler has gone mad and keeps sending out footmen bearing silver trays of one tempting dish after another — fresh fruit, smoked salmon, Eggs Benedict, lamb chops, perhaps wild mushroom ravioli, a slice of honey-glazed ham... You are powerless to resist, and accept at least a little of all 18 courses. Then comes dessert. It’s late afternoon when you waddle out again, after what’s been accurately described as an “extravaganza” of “glorious excess.” It’s a lot of fun, too — and a wonderful way to sample Peter Kelly’s acclaimed cuisine for a mere $38 prix fixe. (Tax and tip on top, of course.)
“The idea was born on a trip to Italy,” Kelly recalls. “In Milan, I wandered into a tiny restaurant that had no menu. Instead they just brought things — a spoonful of pasta, then big nutcrackers and nuts, a bowl of salad. It was a buffet that came to you; you didn’t have to get up and get in line. That’s what we do at Restaurant X. You sit there and brunch unfolds. You don’t know what’s coming — we try to hit all the foodstuffs.” And does it turn everyone into a glutton? “Almost everyone tries to eat a little of everything,” Kelly replies. “That’s the day — you come and have brunch, relax with friends, sip Champagne. There are no decisions to make with the menu. It’s very leisurely, and then you take a nap afterwards.” Indeed you do.
Sunday brunch, which needless to say is a single seating, runs from 1:00 p.m. until half-past-stuffed-to-the-gills, and is booked well in advance. The Champagne flows throughout. Go at least once. You’ll never forget it.