Optimistically Cautious

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Casual Elegance: Murrieta's West Coast Grill

It's no secret that I love brunch, so it's probably a blessing in disguise that such meal selections are relegated to weekends only, as I'd likely be unable to resist eating out more often otherwise. And really, the food served at brunch isn't that economical, as most of the dishes can be prepared for much less at home. Still, there's nothing better than good conversation over a hot cup of coffee in a well-lit, buzzing dining room on a weekend morning.

When May and I decided to indulge in a late breakfast before a matinee on Whyte Ave, I jumped at her suggestion of Murrieta's West Coast Grill (10612-82 Avenue). I had heard many positive reviews of this restaurant, and thought it was time I experienced it on my own accord.

The hostess led us into a bright dining area, lit by a wall of windows on the right side. With high ceilings, hardwood floor, and a beautiful upstanding wine cabinet, the room exuded a clean elegance. The tables were immaculate with crisp white linens, though I did find it curious that they chose a blue checkered cloth to accent the setting, as the pattern countered the rest of the chic decor.

Although we were given the option of ordering from the regular lunch menu, of course, we decided to choose a more conventional brunch dish instead. I went with the Cinnamon French Toast served with Berry Compote and Lemon Sorbet, while May opted for the Eggs Benedict with Salmon and Asaparagus.

The plating was beautiful - great color and overall presentation. We were both hoping for a bigger portion, but our selections were delicious - the lemon sorbet in particular was an interesting substitute for the whipped cream normally found atop French Toast.

Though the service throughout our meal wasn't spectacular (our server didn't split the bill as requested, and only refilled coffee when prompted to), we ended off with a nice surprise - a written Chinese New Year wish at the top of our receipt accompanied by a Red Pocket! Our server was of Asian descent, and though I'm sure we were targeted because we look Chinese, it was a gesture that obviously required some prior preparation. It was definitely a special touch that made our experience that much more memorable.

Murrieta's - a noteworthy destination for brunch.

Dining room

Dining by the fire

Coffee Fixtures

Eggs Benedict with Salmon and Asparagus

French Toast with Berry Compote and Lemon Sorbet

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