I’m happy to say that our meals that followed were equally as impressive. If you like pancakes and/or pumpkin-spiced anything, this is your place! Again, not a huge pancake fan, but I was absolutely in love with the fall pancakes! Incredibly light and perfectly-spiced, they are accompanied by a dreamy topping of Marilyn’s homemade pumpkin butter and whipped cream.
And let’s not forget about that homemade syrup! If you appreciate the small touches, you’ll really love Marilyn’s knack for offering homemade additions wherever possible — and it shows! Nothing was overly sweet or heavy —and this is a big deal to say —but the pancakes might have been the best pancakes I’ve ever had. The sweet potato cakes also had a wonderfully fresh flavor and were really savory. I have to say that the poached eggs and mascarpone are fantastic with the rich sweet potato cakes, but I could have used a little side of greens with this dish to brighten it up. Both dishes were really delicious, and one thing is for sure: You definitely won’t leave this brunch hungry!
Now to the slightly down side. First it’s worth mentioning that after speaking with Marilyn, she seems to be well-aware of the challenges of hosting brunch at a pub, and mentioning the “cons” here is more as a heads-up to the diner than a criticism of her.
The Grisly Pear is a sports bar, and no brunch-loving diner I know would ever suspect such delicious food walking in. (This was clear by the number of people I saw lingering outside then walking away.) Unfortunately, it’s loud and a bit dingy in here. The ambiance calls for more chicken wings and less pumpkin butter, but I’m happy to say that the the presentation and quality of food is enough to shine through the drawbacks. Sure, you will have to deal with TV screens playing football, but for $20 and a crazy good brunch — I’d say it’s worth a try.
With that said, I think there are small areas where the experience could have been immensely improved. For one: The prix fixe comes with a mimosa, but the bar was out of champagne. The bartender/server did offer us a beer or “something else,” but I think another drink option is absolutely necessary here — or you can’t be out of champagne, period. Considering this brunch is in a pub, a beer shandy would have been excellent choice for another drink. Also, there’s no coffee menu, which — for many like myself — is a deal breaker for brunch. I don’t think anything fancy is necessary, but even for those who just drink coffee recreationally, it’s nice to sip on something while you wait for food. I was slightly disappointed at the lack of drink options, but it didn’t ruin my meal by any means.
With the cons taken into consideration, I’d definitely keep an eye out for what’s next by this clearly talented chef. What’s impressive to me is Marilyn’s attempt to take her success in the catering world and venture out into the scary scene of restaurant. Everything isn’t perfect yet, but her passion for good food and food made with good ingredients shines through her dishes, and I would definitely recommend a weekend brunch with her at The Grisly Pear!
Foram is a writer and editor who can’t believe she spent most of her life as a picky eater. She’s been with GMF since 2014, as the former NYC editor and now as a regular contributor. A Texas expat and former New Yorker currently living in San Francisco, Foram went vegan in 2015, while simultaneously uncovering the best veg-friendly spots in the city and around the world. She aims to eat at sustainable restaurants that use ethically-sourced ingredients and believes giving back to the community is paramount to a more harmonious world. Also, hot sauce and dessert.