Gabe, Alisa and I — three sophomore foodies united — resolved last semester to dine at as many different Baltimore restaurants as possible. Our journey recently led us to Let’s Brunch Cafe.
Let’s Brunch Cafe isn’t far from campus. Our destination, a 10 to 15-minute walk according to Google Maps, was extended by a visit to the community library box on Cresmont Avenue. The quickest way to get there is to walk past Mason Hall onto West 31st Street then hang a left on Remington Avenue after two blocks. Walk a little further on Remington, and you’ll bump into FastForwardU or R. House.
The exterior of the cafe reminded me a lot of Edward Hopper’s famous painting Nighthawks. The similarities between the two — open bar counter, tall seats and panoramic glass windows — are unmistakable. The diner vibes were immaculate.
Entering from the side door, my friends and I chose a seat near those windows and looked around, absorbing the ambiance. We were one of only two parties in the restaurant; it was us and another group seated at the bar. Granted it was probably empty because we came in at 3 p.m., which perhaps reveals something about the habits of both parties.
A quick scan of the menu won’t get you very far — you’ll probably need some time to comb through the options and their subscripts. Let’s Brunch offers plenty of options for both sides of the brunch coin. Breakfast options include the standard continental fare, like omelets, pancakes, waffles and french toast. It also includes interesting variations on these familiar favorites, like Cinnamon Toast Crunch pancakes and chicken and waffles. The flip side, lunch is taken care of as well. Let’s Brunch offers seafood, salads, grilled sandwiches, burgers and more.
In a daze from the seemingly endless options, Gabe, Alisa and I asked our friendly waiter Naquawn for his take. Through a slew of jokes, he recommended the Let’s Brunch Special and the mysterious chicken and waffles. We finalized on the Let’s Brunch Special, Meat & Egg Platter, as well as other appetizers such as the fried green tomatoes and sweet potato fries.
Our experience at Let’s Brunch was warm. Catching that we were young Hopkins students, Naquawn opened up to casual conversation with us about the menu, his favorites and the woes of asking customers which of the 10 cheeses and five types of bacon they wanted with their order. Many restaurants lack a connection between the waiter and the diner. Naquawn provided hospitality akin to visiting your best friend's house for dinner. On request for more powdered sugar, he kindly teased us about how the french toast already came with powdered sugar, then brought us a small pitcher full of it regardless. He also joked about the food coma we would supposedly enter after finishing our large portions.
One note that became clear when we were searching the menu — Let’s Brunch wasn’t too informed on diet accommodations. We inquired about their gluten-free options, but the kitchen couldn’t provide any information on which foods were safe — something to keep in mind if you have allergies.
I must say, the food was pretty tasty. I particularly loved the french toast that came with the Let’s Brunch Special. It was perfectly cooked throughout, boasting a firm crust and pillowy interior. The egg flavor wasn’t overpowering, and it paired nicely with the powdered sugar (after a few extra shakes from the pitcher). The kitchen decorated the plate with a fresh orange slice, which was both eye candy and... mouth candy, I suppose. Squeezing a few drops over each slice added a slight tanginess that cut through the sweetness.
To me at least, choosing the fried green tomatoes was an interesting excursion that diverged from the familiar breakfast offerings. The tomatoes managed to be savory and sweet at the same time. They layered the tomatoes with an overpowering, nacho-tasting type of cheese that was, frankly, a strange vibe. The sweet potato fries were crispy and so was the croissant that Gabe chose for his platter. All the dishes came together nicely and were satisfyingly ordinary.
Contrary to Naquawn’s warnings, not a single one of us felt the slightest bit of coma arise. My only gripe about Let’s Brunch was the portion size. I initially thought the problem was myself — maybe I just have an oversized stomach. This would have been the case had my two other friends also thought we paid for a lot more than we got.
In atonement for our choice to skip ordering beignets from the menu, Gabe, Alisa and I finished our brunch with a mini dessert tour, first by checking out Food-Network-famous Charm City Cakes across the street, and then Taharka Brothers ice cream at R. House.
Let’s Brunch is a great option for brunch around the area. Hospitality is on point, and it’s worth visiting for the diner vibes alone. My recommendation, though, is to be adventurous. Try one of the specialty items on the menu — something you couldn’t find anywhere else. Otherwise you might find yourself consuming ordinary food for an extraordinary price.
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