Prosciutto + Fontina Biscuits, Chive Butter
Smoked Ocean Trout Toast, Schmear, Red Onion, Capers, Tomatoes
Chorizo Toast, Soft Scrambled Eggs, Crème Fraiche, Herbs, Chili Oil
Polenta, Sunny Side Up Eggs, Truffled Mushrooms, Parmesan Frico
Margherita Pizza, Chris Bianco’s Tomatoes, Fresh Mozzarella, Basil
Bacon Pizza, Caramelized Onion, Fontina Cheese, Egg, Saba
Bucatini Carbonara, Guanciale, Peas, Egg Yolk, Grana Padana Cheese
Chitarra, Cacio e Pepe, Pecorino, Tellicherry Peppercorn
Polpette, Tomato Sugo, Basil Ricotta
Bread Pudding French Toast, Lyle’s Golden Syrup, Crème Fraiche, Pecans
Sourdough Pancakes, Bananas Foster, Whipped Cream
Ricotta Pancakes, Lemon Butter, Blueberry-Hibiscus Compote
Blueberry Almond Cake, Best Ice Cream #Allthevanilla Ice Cream
Still packed nearly twenty-months since opening, it was as a party of eight that Esther’s Kitchen was visited on Saturday, the Brunch menu largely unaltered from when it launched in early 2019, though that certainly is not a negative considering the overall quality and quantity of Chef James Trees’ Food.
Quickly raising in the ranks of places this writer takes out-of-town visitors, an Arts District location easily accessible by Uber from Las Vegas Boulevard, it was shortly after noon that all guests were accommodated in a large table at room’s center, Chef Ashley Nichole Winkelman (wo)manning the pass while James spent the day helping out at Ada’s in Tivoli Village.
Always a tricky place to order at, the fact that everything sounds good combining with large portions and fair prices that virtually guarantees leftovers, it was with Coffee shaken on Ice that Brunch got started, the diluted beverage a lone letdown given the ease of Cold Brew while others praised a variety of Cocktails including “HOGWASH” featuring Prosciutto-tinged Bourbon.
Focused on favorites from the past, and adding a pair of weekend specials, it was with Drop Biscuits from Baker Dylan Jobsz that dining was underway, Pork mixing nicely with Cheese and herbaceous Butter while two follow-up Toasts highlighted House Sourdough, the Smoked Trout met with approval by New Yorkers better accustomed to Bagels while Chorizo and Chili Oil again shined in contrast to fluffy Eggs and Crème Fraiche.
Never passing on Polenta ground on-site, the fried Cheese lattice a necessary component during the day when Sunny Side Eggs might otherwise make the Cornmeal runny, those seeking Pizza in this part of town won’t do better than Esther’s iteration, whether in the form of a classic Margherita or topped with a breakfast-y combination of Bacon, Egg and Cheese beneath a drizzle of Saba.
Assuredly including some of James’ housemade Pasta, though some members of the table were already growing full, a choice between Carbonara and Cacio e Pepe largely comes down to whether one desires Meat or not, though in the case of oversize Polpette cooked slow in Tomato Sugo the only question is whether to order Sin City’s best Meatballs solo or atop Pasta Alla Chitarra.
Finishing up sweet, and probably overdoing it in terms of carbs (if there is such a thing,) any chance to order Esther’s Bread Pudding French Toast should be seized with both hands, the addition of Pecans a wise choice in terms of texture while Sourdough Pancakes topped in Bananas Foster also warrant attention should they be available as a weekend Special, though perhaps not at the expense of Ricotta rounds that eat lighter than one might imagine beneath macerated Blueberries and Lemon Butter.
FIVE STARS: Not overlooking great service, nor a top-notch soundtrack and slices of Blueberry Almond Cake with #Allthevanilla Ice Cream from Ada’s, “if they serve one more bite of food I’ll punch you” will resonate as a reminder of Esther’s value on the dollar for some time, though it likely will not make future orders any smaller because to leave out any of the items listed above would be a mistake.
RECOMMENDED: #allthethings seems appropriate for this section.
AVOID: Iced Coffee.
TIP: Ignore the Morning Bun listed on the Esther’s Kitchen online menu as it does not exist, but do pay attention to Social Media for Specials.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.