Sunday, February 6, 2011

Mary Queen of Scots

When the Rooks recently converged in NYC we decided to try out brunch at the restaurant where our amazing pastry-chef cousin, Heather, has been working. So on a Sunday afternoon we headed to Mary Queen of Scots on the Lower East Side for a tasty meal and delicious desserts.

First we delved into a tray of various baked goods—scones and muffins galore. And they were served with clotted cream. Oh, clotted cream! How I love thee. It was perfect to spread on the lovely scones and muffins. These treats were gone within minutes, and we were primed for the rest of the meal.

We also indulged in some cocktails and coffee throughout the meal. We ordered bloody mary’s, which were off the hook with just the right blend of tomato juice, spices, and fresh grated horseradish. What a great way to start off a lazy, winter's Sunday.

I opted for the Black Pudding Benedict with Meyer lemon hollandaise and arugula salad. I had never tried black pudding before, and I was intrigued. Basically the black pudding (also called blood pudding) is a type of sausage made from cooking blood, spices, and oats. The flavor was reminiscent of regular sausage but had a different kick to it, and the texture was more crumbly. There was also something in the flavor that just popped in a way I’ve never experienced before. The initial taste is great on it's own, but then after a moment it builds in complexity and there’s just a Pow! on your taste buds. I don’t know if it’s the blood or some kind of spice, but either way it is awesome. And the eggs were perfectly poached, oozing luscious yellow yolk over the black pudding and accompanying bread.

All the other plates were scrumptious as well. My mom opted for the House Smoked Scottish Salmon with a potato bap bun, horseradish crème fraiche, and caper berries. Sonya ordered the Corn Crumpets with Peekytoe crab, apple piccalilli, and shaved radish. And my dad opted for the French Toast au Fromage Blanc with chipolata sausage, maple syrup, and fruit.

Patrick (our resident Scotsman...well, kind of. I mean, he likes scotch but he's not actually from Scotland) of course ordered the Full Scotch Breakfast with Ayrshire bacon, chipolata sausage, grilled tomato, great northern beans, free range eggs, and a potato scone. Lucky for us Pat likes to share, so we all got to try the phenomenal Scottish bacon that came with his breakfast. It was amazing, and every mouth got to savor a little bit of the thick, hearty meat.

After our fabulous meal it was time for dessert. Heather’s desserts were seriously out of this world. I mean, I always knew that I had an awesome cousin, but I had no idea that she could kill it like that in the kitchen. We tried four amazingly scrumdiddlyumptious desserts, and even though were already stuffed from brunch we still devoured every bite. These desserts were not only visually stunning (as you can see) but also decadent, delicious, and perfectly executed. You’ll need to hit up Mary Queen of Scots if you want to experience these exceptional treats yourself.

Chocolate Stout Tres Leches Cake 
with stout foam, chocolate pretzels, dulce de leche, and malt ice cream

Cranberry Upside-Down Cake
served with sweet potato curd, poached cranberries, and topped with orange sherbet

Acorn Squash Cheese Cake 
with a maple emulsion, walnut brittle crumble, acorn squash seed tuile, walnut sorbet, and toasted acorn squash seeds

Peanut Butter Sandwiches

These peanut butter sandwiches were probably my favorite of the desserts. The soft chocolate cookies are filled with milk-chocolate-and-peanut-butter cream and served with caramelized bananas that are flambéed with Wild Turkey American Honey Bourbon, caramelized honey ice cream, and chocolate cookie crumble. What? Can you say "amazing"? I was very impressed with all the desserts, but this one definitely stands out for me as I recollect our fabulous meal.

Mary Queen of Scots was a great place to grab brunch and devour some delicious desserts. I can't wait to go back and check out their dinner menu sometime. It's definitely worth a visit to the Lower East Side, so enjoy and don't forget dessert!

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