Catalyst: Cambridge, Massachusetts
Last Sunday was special for two reasons. Number one, it was the last free Sunday before we switch over to our performing schedule with Boston Ballet. Once we open our Fall Program this coming Thursday (25th of October) and kick off our performing season in Boston, regular weekends are long gone. Number two, I made it to another brunch with the fabulous Boston Brunchers, making it two in a row. Last month, I went on a Mexican brunch adventure with the team at The Painted Burro in Davis Square.
This time around, still on the Cambridge side of the river, we tried out Catalyst. I had been to Catalyst for events, so I knew just how beautiful the space was and had tried some of their dinner menu items, but their brunch was new to me - and a quick look over their brunch menu the evening before convinced me that my Sunday was going to be extra special.
As is my usual custom at these brunches, I arrive with a grumbling tummy and am quick to suggest we order some shareable dishes. It seemed like the menu at Catalyst was made for just this and soon after our party was seated, an order of chocolate chip scones with a dulce de leche sauce and a skillet coffee cake were put in.
I realize it is a fairly basic and standard breakfast item that some people may turn their noses up at when eating out at a restaurant, but these baked goods were absolutely delicious. The chocolate chip scones were crumbly and coated in a light sugar on the outside with a moist and dense, chocolate chippy inside...and the dulce de leche sauce was a nice twist. The coffee cake was served in a hot skillet; a brown sugared crumble topping and another moist, but this time light and fluffy inside. Both got our taste buds ready for the rest of the meal.
I took responsibility for the poached farm egg atop a tournedo of beef, on a bed of grits. This was the dish I had had my eye on since I first saw the menu, and it ended up being my favorite dish at the table. The beef was just the right portion, tender, juicy and full of flavor. The egg was beautiful and the grits...oh the grits! They were somehow better than any I had while I was in Charleston SC this past summer.
The other dishes we got were egg dishes; the goat cheese and mushroom omelette and the chicken fritatta. Both good, solid brunch plates, but they had nothing on the tournedo fandango mentioned above. A side dish I was really in love with was their pork belly potato hash. This number was also served in a piping hot skillet (I just love things served in skillets..oh and anything with pork belly), the potatoes cooked in drippings...so you can imagine how flavorful they were.
As a group of about 10 food enthusiasts, we did a pretty good job covering everything on the menu. We got their panko-crusted french toast for everyone to nibble on and although it was tasty, I would have preferred a little less panko and a little more bread. That said, the bourbon whipped butter was a divine accompaniment.
Catalyst is a great place to go for a humble brunch well done. Going with the brunchers is always a lovely experience and I always look forward to trying new things with people who love food as much as I do.