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Sunday Brunch – Ritz Carlton, Tysons Galleria November 17, 2009

Posted by hslu in Restaurants.
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Ritz Carlton Sunday Brunch


We talked about going to Ritz Carlton at Tysons Galleria for Sunday brunch for many years. We kept putting it off primarily because it was expensive and we really didn’t have a good reason to.


Well, we did it this time on Bao’s birthday. Since mine was 4 days later, we’d combine two celebrations into one.


I called to confirm that the brunch was available because the website said Ritz Carlton is trying to find a new chef to change the theme at the current location. The guy told me that reservation was not necessary and the cost was $69.95 per person.


Even with white table clothes, the 80-seat dinning room was quite modest and the brunch facility was right next to the dinning room. The service was very attentive probably because we were there early and the dinning room was almost empty with about 12 guests. We were asked whether we like champagne or mimosa which was champagne with a small amount of orange juice. We both asked for mimosa which came with the brunch.

The Stainless steel brunch facility was spic-and-spam everywhere and the display of various dishes was quite pleasant throughout. It had a wide selection of salads, soup, shrimp and crab claw cocktail, raw oyster, smoked salmon, pâté, sushi, fruit, bread, 12 different kinds of cheese, prosciuttos, breakfast fare, 8 different hot food, roast beef, lamb chops, caviar and at least 10 different kinds of desserts.

We were very pleased with the selection and the quality of the dishes. Salad was great: every thing was fresh and nicely prepared. Smoked salmon was delectable with thick smoke flavor. Shrimp cocktail, stone crab claws and raw oysters were very fresh and you really didn’t need to add cocktail sauce. The lamb chop was tender with pink center and the sauce was thick and savory. The flavor of the caviar was luscious and it was served with a non-metal spoon. It came with fixings such as chopped red onion, egg yolk, parsley and capers. Bread was nicely done and the croissant was buttery, crispy and very flaky they way it was supposed to be. If I had to complaint, I preferred it served warm with whipped butter and orange marmalade on the side.


There were at least 10 kinds of cheese on display: hard, soft, goat cheese, brie, Gouda, blue cheese and sheep cheese. I tried probably eight of them but didn’t like the flavor of a couple because they were a little too pungent for me. Besides, I was too full to appreciate the delicate flavor of some fine cheeses. A jar of honey by the cheese station was a good addition though.

Ritz offered two kinds of pâté at the brunch: southern French style country pâté and chicken liver pâté. I liked the chicken liver pâté because it was moist and creamy. It practically melted in my mouth. I wasn’t too crazy about Ritz’s country pâté because it wasn’t spicy enough as I expected, its texture could be a little coarser and the smell was stronger than country pâté I had from other local French restaurants.


I also didn’t care too much about the hot food served in the chafers because they were all over cooked. We didn’t try sushi either because they weren’t very appetizing to us. The selection was limited too. Raw oysters were fresh but the cocktail sauce was too salty and thick. Bacon and sausage weren’t hot and there was only one kind of soup – cream of mushrooms.


Lastly, I had to praise the pastry chefs at the Ritz because they have done an excellent job. We both liked all the desserts we’ve tried because they were the highlight of the brunch: plenty of selections, excellent presentations and everyone we tried was great. I particularly liked the rum-soaked cakes because the cake was so fluffy and moist, the taste so sumptuous and luscious and the entire cake was completely soaked with rum and honey and it was chilled to perfection right from the cooler under the serving table. The pumpkin mousse, Coconut Macaroons and crème brûlée were excellent too.

All in all, it was a very nice experience: casual, relaxed, eat what you like and too many varieties to try. There was no guilt to eat as much as we could because it was a celebration of our birthdays. Bottomless mimosa was a nice touch too and I didn’t even ask for it: our mid-aged waiter was very observant and he stopped several times to re-fill my champagne flute to the brim. Several times when we came back from the buffet station, we found our napkins nicely folded and placed on the table after we’ve left them on the chair. Every wait person was courteous and greeted us with smile. I also saw a couple of chefs came out from the kitchen to check on the quantity of the food. They were polite too.


The dinning room was roughly divided into four sections and the tables were widely apart with plenty of space in between. The high ceiling was nicely decorated with layers of molding and soft lights. All the time when we were there from about 11:45 AM to about 1:30 PM, the place was very quite. We didn’t see any kids and we didn’t have to raise our voices to talk to each other. By the time we were ready to leave, the dinning room was about ½ filled. We figured that there were about 70 to 80 guests on that particular Sunday. Toward the end of our brunch, Bao got a phone call from our daughter who called to wish her a happy birthday.

So here is my final comment:


Come with a BIG appetite, arrive early with your loved ones or your friends, enjoy the wide selection of finely prepared cuisines, pick what you like to eat, eat as much as you care to, indulge yourself with good service, drink as much mimosa as you like and do not forget to save some room for the wonderful desserts at the end. Order a cup of their good coffee and take your time to enjoy yourself.


Sunday brunch at Ritz Carlton’s Maestro isn’t cheap by any standard but once in a few years is still worth it.



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