Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Restaurant Review: Pura Vida Brunch

It seems like everyone has been talking about Pura Vida brunch lately, or at least other food bloggers have. Atlanta Cuisine offers discounted gift certificates to local restaurants, so the boyfriend and I picked up a $50 Pura Vida - Brunch only gift certificate for $25 the other day. We live just down the road from Pura Vida and had been impressed with dinner, so it seemed like a great deal. Not to mention, I was getting oh so sick of my weekend standard of chicken-apple sausage and eggs, and the standard brunch fare of pancakes and omelets is a bit blah for my taste.

I love the concept of brunch tapas. I'm not a huge fan of eggs, so the idea of being able to experiment with a small order of a preparation is really appealing. Plus, I'm never one for ordering something sweet and carby at brunch, not surprising given my carb-Nazi ways, but I do crave a taste of sweet treats now and then. With tapas, I can get a taste but not commit to an entire plateful of sugary breakfast goodness.

Since we had $50 to blow and were nursing a bit of a hangover from our previous night of bridge playing and boozing, we started with some breakfast cocktails. My cava and mango juice bellini tasted pretty similar to the oj and champagne standard, meaning it was tasty but not exciting. The boyfriend's cocktail involved aphrodisiac juice. Not sure what that is, but it comes in a pint glass and is cloyingly sweet. I'd pass on that, especially since sugar comas are not conducive to aphrodisiac-like effects.

We ordered several dishes, and were somewhat surprised that each came out separately. I would have preferred to have at least 2 plates out at once sometimes, so I could mix and match flavors. The breakfast patties de pato (duck sausage) were savory and had an intruguing citrus flavor, but without any other flavors to contrast, the sausages came off as a bit too one-note. The house-cured beef and pork chorizo was hearty with a pleasantly spicy kick, but again, this would have gone much better with eggs.

Speaking of eggs, the deconstructed tortilla espanola was one of the best dishes we tried because the eggs, fried potatoes, onion confit, and pimentons hit all parts of my palette, and it was so much more compelling than the bland scrambled eggs I normally have.

The carbs offered a nice reprieve from so much protein. The masa pancakes were light and an interesting twist on a morning standard. Best of all was the decadent pineapple roll french toast. The bananas were the most prominent flavor, and the entire dish was rich, creamy, and delectable. With every other dish, I seeded some of my half to my ever-hungry boyfriend, but I wasn't about to share my french toast. Yum!

At the end of our meal, there was some drama with using the gift certificate. Apparently Pura Vida doesn't normally provide any form of change for the remaining value of a gift certificate. Not giving money makes perfect sense, but why would they not provide a new gift certificate for the value of our change? If we had spent say $25 of our $50, would they have just kept the change? Our meal was $43, and we managed to talk the manager into giving us a certificate for the remaining $7. We'll certainly be dining there again, and the change will buy me another pineapple roll french toast!

Pros: tapas lets you sample lots of flavors, interesting twist on breakfast standards
Cons: Hassle of using gift certificate, food brought out one dish at a time

Pros: unique brunch options, delicious sweet brunch options
Cons: iffy on gift certificate redemption, savory brunch options not as successful

Pura Vida
656 N Highland Ave NE
Atlanta, GA 30306

Pura Vida on Urbanspoon



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