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)
Coriander crusted tuna is one of the many offerings during the Champagne brunch
Photographs by Jennifer May
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.