Sunday, January 8, 2012

Guest Review on Hattie's

Have you guys heard about Hattie's new brunch? Word on the street is it's pretty exciting and Jenny from Mamatoga is going to tell you all about it! Take a look...

First, in an effort to be completely honest with you readers, let me just say that I have been a long time fan of Hattie's. I love their chicken, I love their back porch, I love their mojitos. But, when it comes to brunch, I am what can be described as "picky". Perhaps I've even been described as a "brunch snob" once or twice. You see, brunch is my favorite meal, always has been, and I consider myself to be a bit of a connoisseur. And I would agree with being labeled as picky, I have dismissed meals at brunch for the potatoes having too much rosemary, the eggs being not runny enough (or TOO runny) or the butter on the toast as "funny tasting".

You can take that last dismissal as an indication that a food writer, I am not. But I do know brunch, and I do know kids, so here I'm going to give you my review of Hattie's, brunch with kids. Hattie's is the type of place that is conducive to kids being at your table from the moment you walk in. It's nice and noisy in a jovial way, not in an obnoxious way, in a way that lets you breathe a little easier if the kids laugh a little loudly or chatter just a bit. It has a friendly, bustling atmosphere and our waitress definitely fell under the friendly category. Right away she brought the kids crayons and menus to draw on and was well versed in the parent habit of ordering for the kids right away and I didn't have to ask her to "bring it out when it's ready".

It was tough for any of us to decide what to get on their menu because everything sounded amazing, but having two kids aged 5 and 3 at the table and me being nine months pregnant the beignets seemed like a must order item.

Fresh and piping hot they were at the table quickly, described as "French Quarter donuts" these funnel cake type treats were amazing, three of them came in a big bowl with a generous amount of powdered sugar and disappeared as fast as they came. Even though they are fried they had a surprising lightness to them that made the inside layers almost melt in your mouth.

Ordering these first may seem like a rookie mistake, donuts before food? Well, at brunch I'm a little more lax with the old eating rules, but I was pleasantly surprised that the fruit with honey yogurt that arrived next was just as well received by Finn and Leven.

The honey yogurt dip was sweet enough to entice little fingers to finish off the large bowl of fresh fruit and made me feel justified that the kids were, in fact, eating something healthy. The yogurt wasn't overly sweet however and we all took turns dipping pieces in. Their options for kids for brunch are pretty good though, beyond the donuts and fruit they were more than happy to create a smaller plate or do a special order for the kids which is something you don't always run into and is always appreciated. Our waitress was just the right amount of attentive for a table with kids, bringing extra plates to share with when needed, checking to make sure there weren't any lemonade or pineapple juice refills needed, and making sure coffees and adult drinks were placed well beyond the reach of little hands.

Speaking of coffee, I have to include the coffee that I had, the cafe con miel (with milk and honey). I had never had honey in coffee before and wasn't sure if it would be a new obsession of mine or if I would have to pawn it off on my husband but it turned out to be the most amazing coffee I've had in a long time. Creamy and sweet, I'm still thinking about how much of a little treat it was and hoping I can somehow recreate that perfect balance at home.

As far as the adult meals went we were all beyond pleased. For my meal I got the crab cake Eggs Benedict and it was divine. I'm not a big fan of "fancy" Benedicts usually, I like them pretty traditional, I don't want any roasted peppers in the Hollandaise or anything too crazy. For pretty much any other meal I'm very adventurous but for brunch I want Eggs Benedict as close to traditional as possible.

This Benedict did have a slight twist in that it was on top of crab cakes with spinach, and even though it took this minor detour from "traditional" for me it was fantastic. The potatoes were crispy with just enough salt, the Hollandaise was creamy and had just the right amount of tanginess and the spinach blended with the tender crab cakes beautifully. I loved them for combining two somewhat traditional dishes, Eggs Benedict and crab cakes into something this great. Two thick slices of toast topped the plate off and were snatched up by little hands, Finn declaring it "the best bread ever".

We decided to have the kids share our meals, and the kids happily enjoyed my toast, my husband's chicken fried steak and my mom's gruyere and ham omelette. My husband's skirt steak was perfect and the eggs were cooked impeccably. We also had an "extra" order, something I am notorious for doing when pregnant. It's hard to decide on just one entree, especially when there are so many good choices, and the "extra" today was the biscuits and gravy. These were amazing, if you've had their biscuits you know how fluffy and delicious these are, and the gravy was thick and chunky yet had the perfect creaminess and flavor.

Part of the reason that Hattie's is so great is that it is comfortable and casual and is just like home cooked comfort food, but a thousand times better. This is why, I suspect, people keep going back for more. It feels like home, warm and cozy and inviting on a windy day like today with friendly, smiling people waiting on you. The food, made up of great quality ingredients, is simple and delicious but with enough thoughtful inclusions and prepared so expertly to make it stand out above the rest. We were one of a few tables that had small children there this morning and it is definitely somewhere I will go again with the kids, especially since Finn made me promise we'd go back to get more beignets next week. I'm definitely going to have to keep this promise, especially since there are about ten other menu options I want to try and that perfect coffee alone is worth a return trip.

Thanks so much Jenny! For more kid friendly restaurant reviews and Saratoga events, check out Mamatoga's website.


  1. I'm new to the area and have been curious about Hattie's. The brunch sounds delicious. I will check it out with my two babies soon. Thanks Jenny & Aliza for the review!

  2. we had brunch at hattie's 2 or 3 weeks of the few places in saratoga that has great food and is open early for brunch. great for mama's whose little ones are up early. our waitress was wonderful and patient with the babe as well. we'll be back!