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Friday, June 13, 2014

Chattanooga Food Friday: Chato Brasserie for Brunch

A review of brunch at Chato in Chattanooga Tennessee
This past weekend Steve and I went to Chattanooga for a mini-vacation. I always enjoy traveling to new places, especially if that means trying out new restaurants. For some reason it's been a while since I've gone out for brunch. But what better way to splurge than when on vacation? After consulting the Internet gods, we ended up at Chato Brasserie to try their eggs Benedict.
A review of brunch at Chato in Chattanooga Tennessee
Chato, on Chattanooga's north shore, is located in a relatively a new condo building. The space itself is modern and open, and the floor to ceiling windows let in large amounts of natural light. The color palate consisted of warm earth tones and dark wood furniture. We arrived at 11, the moment that they opened for Sunday brunch, and were able to sneak a table without a reservation. But judging by how quick the place filled up, I would recommend calling ahead and reserving a table.
Passionfruit bellini at  brunch at Chato in Chattanooga Tennessee
Chato has a wide variety of morning libations available. We chose the Sunday Bellini, which was made with passionfruit puree and champagne. At only $3 a glass, this was a really good deal. I enjoyed the Bellini; you can taste the fresh fruit and see tiny bits of pulp floating around. Also, the drink wasn't overly sweetened, allowing the natural taste of the fruit and the crispness of the champagne to dominate. 
Salmon eggs benedict at  brunch at Chato in Chattanooga Tennessee
Chato offers a fair amount of variations on the traditional eggs Benedict. The New Yorker in me went for the house cured sockeye salmon with a cream cheese & chive hollandaise. I have to say this dish let me down. 

When we ordered our dishes, our waitress (who was very polite) asked us how we wanted our eggs, and suggested over-easy. I said no, it's eggs Benedict and I want my eggs poached. In return, she said yes it's poached, but asked how much I wanted it cooked. I was very emphatic about how golden runny egg yolks is the only real way to eat a poached egg and the liquid yolk greatly enhances the dining experience. I was very clear that I wanted my eggs as runny as possible. What I got was a semi-solid yolk with no "ooze" factor.

Since the egg is the primary focus of an eggs Benedict, I didn't love this dish. This was really sad because everything else about it was spot-on. The salmon was lovely and had that salty lox flavor that you can conjure up just thinking about it. Their hollandaise was solid, and the addition of the cream cheese added a nice tangy note to the rich sauce. The roasted potatoes were crisp and not overly salted. It's such a bummer that something with so much potential was disappointing.
creole eggs benedict at  brunch at Chato in Chattanooga Tennessee
Steve went for the more adventurous creole Benedict, with andouille sausage, crawfish hollandaise and a biscuit instead of the traditional English muffin. Since Steve holds the same egg beliefs as me, he also asked for a runny yolk, and also got a solid golden nugget. It appears that they generally overcook all the eggs here. The sausage had a nice spice to it and the plump crawfish mixed with the buttery hollandaise was a great treat. This dish was so good flavor-wise, but the eggs were holding it back from being awesome.
beignets creole at  brunch at Chato in Chattanooga Tennessee
I'm generally not one to complain, but I like being honest. When the waitress asked me how our meals were I told her that the eggs were overcooked. She was apologetic and they offered us beignets on the house. This was nice of them, and I always appreciate places that try to make things right. The beignets were not my favorite, their small size made them fairly hard and dense. I also know that beignets always come with more powdered sugar that I could possibly want, so there was a lot of shaking to get the excess off. They were much better once we dipped them in coffee.   

Overall, Chato for brunch was fairly hit or miss. Our service was great and the management apologized and was gracious overall. Our cocktails were really good and very budget friendly. The eggs Benedict was really well thought out, they only messed up the egg. If I lived in Chattanooga I would give them another shot since they could've just been having a bad egg day in the kitchen. 

Chato Brasserie on Urbanspoon

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