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Vin Rouge, for brunch

Posted by NOK 23 Aug 2010 13 Comments

The Vin Rouge brunch is one my favorite meals in Durham. Actually, more specifically, the Eggs Mediterranean at the Vin Rouge brunch is one of my favorite meals in Durham. Before I tell you how it is perfect in every way, an introduction:

Vin Rouge is not new and certainly not a secret. Part of the Bakatsias restaurant empire, Vin Rouge sits on the corner of 9th and Hillsborough, between the excellent Blu Seafood, and reliable standby, Elmo’s Diner. It is frequently cited for a variety of reasons: an interior and exterior environment that seriously evokes old world Europe, the high art mac and cheese at dinner, and, most often, chef Matt Kelly’s cooking, which apparently has made his kitchen a favorite among regional chefs.

I like dinner just fine. When in the mood for French-influenced bistro cuisine, I’m equally excited to find myself at Vin Rouge or Rue Cler. You really can’t go wrong with either one. But when it comes to the Eggs Mediterranean, Vin Rouge is without peer.

The centerpiece features two well-toasted English muffins, canadian bacon, and a perfectly poached egg. This is all textbook, but it is the sauce that makes it (and makes it Mediterranean). It’s a hollandaise sauce, infused with tomato, served with a dollop of a tomato, olive, and caper relish. The salty/sweet/vinegary combination is an excellent, piquant foil to the rich hollandaise sauce and egg yolk.

On the side, a generous portion of crisp frites, and lightly dressed greens. The latter serves as a delicious and light guilt-reduction mechanism. Yes, I just had a breakfast of fries, eggs, and hollandaise, but see, I also had a lovely salad.

My last personal rave is for the bread. Each table gets one or two small tin buckets filled with fresh, crusty, bias-cut baguette slices. They are baked slightly dark, resulting in a flavorful crust with good bite, and a moist, tender crumb on the interior. It’s hard to not fill up on this stuff.

Everyone who joined me loved their meal as well. Below see the Eggs Florentine, served with a traditional hollandaise and sauteed spinach instead of ham.

The mushroom omelette.

And a half order of the french toast, with bacon. They were very accommodating in preparing this on request, for our young kids, who had eaten breakfast earlier, unable to wait until Vin Rouge opened at 10:30.

Overall, just a great, great experience. The place was packed soon after we arrived, so many of you are already onto this one. Logistically, be aware that it can be noisy inside, but the new-ish front patio (covered) and side patio (not covered) are quieter and an excellent choice weather permitting. Consistency is generally very high, though on a recent visit, the muffin was just a tad well done, and the proportions of the sauces were slightly off, but even so, it still made for a tasty brunch.

Vin Rouge
2010 Hillsborough Rd map
Durham, NC 27705
(919) 416-0466
http://www.ghgrestaurants.com/vinrouge/vinrouge.html, and here’s the brunch menu

Reviewed 8/22/10

13 Comments »

  • Olivia B. Munson said:

    sure wish they did brunch on Saturdays and not just Sundays.

    [Reply]

  • DID said:

    My favorite brunch in Durham as well. I have dreams about the bread and butter.

    [Reply]

  • Tooth said:

    I think Vin Rouge and Piedmont are the two best brunch places downtown. Of course, I love Rue Cler and Watt’s Grocery, too.

    [Reply]

  • burgeoningfoodie said:

    Have only been to Vin Rouge for dinner but loved it. Bacon Confiture anyone? I’ll have to give their brunch and Rue Cler’s beignets a try.

    [Reply]

  • burgeoningfoodie said:

    Btw not sure how different Piedmont is going to be since the original owners sold it. It should stay yummy as they have a well regarded Farm to Fork chef on board.

    [Reply]

  • Cat said:

    All I have to day is YUUUUUUUUMMY!!!!

    [Reply]

  • Darrin said:

    Ok, this is the best place in Durham. We have looked for flavorful food here in NC. We finally found it. I highly recommend Vin Rouge.

    [Reply]

  • Julie said:

    Vin Rouge is my favorite restaurant in Durham. I think they also have the best brunch, but far more often we eat here for dinner. Carpe Durham should review their dinner menu as well (heck, I could do it…)

    [Reply]

  • MEZ said:

    Best beignets I’ve had yet (only had a few in my life), and I love the touch of sourdough in them.

    [Reply]

  • L said:

    FAB brunch!!!

    [Reply]

  • Floor seats (and an insider’s glimpse) at the Dean Dome « Scott's Blog said:

    [...] ate at Vin Rouge in Durham. We were thoroughly lost on our way to the Duke game and tripped across this place. It’s the most authentic French bistro I’ve ever been to outside of Paris and we really enjoyed [...]

  • Floor seats (and an insider’s glimpse) at the Dean Dome | Scott's Blog said:

    [...] ate at Vin Rouge in Durham. We were thoroughly lost on our way to the Duke game and tripped across this place. It’s the most authentic French bistro I’ve ever been to outside of Paris and we really enjoyed [...]

  • Karrl said:

    Go to Vin Rouge for sweetbreads or liver with onions (which I had last night), neither of which, I realize, are to everyone’s taste. Be sure to get frites. Specials are almost always very good; last night my wife thoroughly enjoyed the fish cakes.

    [Reply]

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