Orsay Brunch Bliss | Best in Brunch | Review, Photos
On the menu:
Eggs a la Orsay
english muffin, soft poached eggs,
 prosciutto, arugula, truffled hollandaise,
black truffles, pommes Lyonnaise

Once again I return to a familiar haunt showcased on Like Love Want Need’s first season. Orsay is a Riverside landmark visited by local regulars, girls night revelers, and date night lovers. Featuring French inspired classics with a southern twist, this elegant destination is well known for it’s many awards.

Focusing less on the stuffy confines of traditional fine dining rules, and more on the comfort and ease of it’s patrons, Orsay romances diners back again and again with classic plates elevated to the climax of flavor perfected by technique and perhaps a few modern advantages in the kitchen. 

Rustic French Fare Meets Southern American Influences

If you aren’t a big follower of French fare you might be wondering how heavily influenced the brunch menu is by the home of the Eiffel Tower and famous cycling tour. As I enjoyed my tasting session I was surprised by the Southern American flavors I was experiencing. In fact upon further discussion with newly promoted Executive Chef Brian Whittington and Owner Chef Jonathan Insetta, I learned that when you compare traditional rustic French food and down home southern cooking many commonalities can be found. Farm raised and locally sourced ingredients come together to make savory comfort dishes that warm the heart and feed the soul. Ingredients widely found in the country such as farm eggs, fresh butter, made from scratch breads, and garden greens all find their way to the plate. These common favorites are then blended together by expert hands into artisanal delicacies as well as hearty dishes that are sure to “stick to your bones” and satisfy any great appetite. Gone are the tiny servings expected at many a fine dining restaurant, no these dishes are made to satiate and gratify the famished brunch goer.

On the menu:
Chicken Fried Eden Farms Berkshire Pork Chops
sunny side up Black Hog Farm Egg,
black pepper buttermilk gravy, warm fingerling potato,
and arugula salad

Technique Driven Kitchen

One might think that less care is taken for healthier portions, not so at Orsay. More than once during my review I heard how important technique is to this kitchen. Thirty years ago technology wasn’t up to par with delivering the kind of potent and distinctive flavors we now experience. With new creative tools to speed up processes that used to take days, we can now enjoy complex dishes at an affordable price point that ages ago would have been unheard of. As a result another revelation was discussed. The consistency and increasing familiarity with these upscale dishes is widening the palate of our younger diners ushering in a new inspired generation of little chefs in the making. How is that for a sound reason to bring the kids along to brunch? You now have my permission. In fact, you have the permission of a growing number of restauranteurs.

On the menu:
Quiche du Jour
black hog farm fresh eggs, petite salad

Is Fine Dining Dead?

I love to dress up just as much as the next girl, but alas these days that is becoming less common. I could blame it on becoming a parent, or living in an active/outdoorsy metropolis, or just the new wave of style. Whatever the reason, the desire to enjoy great food in a fantastic atmosphere “as is”, is a real thing now. Casual money spends just as well as fancy money and palates don’t become any less critical because they are sporting jeans instead of cocktail wear. Due to that rising demand and increasing success of the casual fine dining scene some might consider that term, indeed, dead. It’s great news that Jacksonville has a foodie scene that meets that need spot on including widely acclaimed favorites such as Orsay.

On the menu:
Wild Local Shrimp & Anson Mills Grits
rosted corn, jalapeño, and Eden Farms bacon relish
Handled with Care

On the menu:
Lemon buttermilk scones with honey butter
Apple cream cheese bread with cinnamon butter

Sometimes simplicity is the most complex technique to master. When you take the challenge of perfecting a time tested, traditional favorite, you are opening yourself up to a tsunami of criticism. No one will ever make meatloaf like momma… or will they? Orsay features favorites such as these, with quiche taking center stage along side chicken fried pork chops, eggs benedict, and exceptional pastries by Pastry Chef Michael Bump whose work can also be seen at sister restaurant Black Sheep. They “Don’t Mess Around” as they refine and hone in the ideal combination of American Southern favorites and elegant French classics. It’s clear they care about what they do. Great award winning food, a passionate staff, and a first rate ambiance.

On the menu;
Irish Iced Coffee, Corpse Reviver, Bloody Mary
What’s not to love? Reserve your spot at Orsay’s brunch, and tell them I said hi!
Until then…
Enjoy the Journey!
xo- Amy West

More great pictures from my Orsay dining experience on facebook here

Read More from my Best in Brunch Series Here:
Watch Orsay on Like Love Want Need here
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Copyright © 2014 Amy West Travel. All rights reserved. Photography by Journey Productions Media.