On a recent Sunday, I performed in a holiday pageant. I was a Wise Man, a role that brought hoots of mirth from my dine-around friends who were attending on a dare. They pronounced it an appalling case of miscasting. After the curtain had mercifully rung down, my friends took “The Ac-tor” out for brunch and some good-natured ribbing.
One of the indisputable gifts that western civilization has brought to the world, apart from democracy, spaceflight and the moldboard plow is Sunday brunch. I firmly believe that there is no more civilized way to spend a Sunday than in genial conversation with friends across a table, sampling well-prepared dishes matched with refreshing potables.
There are several area restaurants that are known for their Sunday brunch. With brunch available at Johnson City’s Bonefish Grill, they now have competition. The arrival of the dine-around bunch was toward the tail end of their 11 a.m -2 p.m. brunch hours. The Retiree had secured us a table towards the back and off to one side of the house, “to make the meal comfortable,” though I suspect it was to make sure that my humiliation at the hands of my friends wasn’t going to be a public one.
With drinks and menus in hand, we discussed our brunch options with our capable server, Keely. The Retiree chose her favorite, Traditional Eggs Benedict ($8.90) as only Bonefish Grill could do it. The Dieter decided to kick over her diet’s traces and ordered the Crème Brule French Toast with bacon ($10.50), and the Carnivore picked Surf ‘n Turf Eggs Benedict ($13.50).
My dining partner had a hankering for a classic California Omelet ($8.50) with a side of potatoes au gratin. As crow wasn’t on the menu, I opted for something light, an Oscar Omelet ($9.50). The Carnivore sprung for some of Bonefish Grill’s Singapore Calamari ($7.80) and Maryland Crab Cakes ($11.30) for the table to munch on while our orders wee being prepared.
The calamari ringlets were seared through and tasted great with the sweet Thai sauce. The crab cakes were very “crabby” — lots of tasty crab and a lot less cake. As we dabbed up the last bit of crab remoulade and calamari sauce, the main course arrived.
My Oscar omelet was a three-egg affair with grilled asparagus, more excellent lump crab meat and smoked mozzarella cheese with some piquant lemon butter to hand. Resisting the urge to gobble it down straightaway, I wielded my knife and fork with dexterity and flair, determined to enjoy my delicious meal come what may.
My dining partner’s California Omelet featured smoked bacon prepared with grilled onions, cheddar cheese, tomato and avocado slices. The potatoes au gratin were the best she’d had in a long while; one taste had me agreeing with her.
The Retiree’s Eggs Benedict featured a toasted double-thick English muffin topped with smoked ham, two poached eggs and some excellent hollandaise sauce; a classic from start to finish.
The Dieter’s French toast batter had a healthy dose of Grand Marnier liqueur and orange in it, then topped with whipped cream, strawberries and mint; a very special dish that gave us a very “pleased” Dieter towards the end of the meal.
The Carnivore’s Surf ‘n Turf combined grilled filet mignon with lobster as the topping for his Eggs Benedict. The dish’s English muffin and poached eggs were mere bystanders as the Carnivore tore into his two favorite foods.
All in all an excellent meal, made even better with a near-absence of ribbing about my Wise Man performance from my tablemates. I even assayed a piece of Jen’s Jamaican Coconut Pie ($6.20) as a private celebration on my part. Although, on leaving the Bonefish Grill I heard “Wise Man, huh? More like Wise-Acre.” My glance behind found my dining partner smiling sweetly back at me.
1902 North Roan Street
Sunday brunch 11 a.m.–2 p.m.
Available on Facebook
Credit cards accepted.