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Wasn’t it Rob Halford of Judas Priest who promised to “rock ya ‘til your metal hunger’s fed”? Why yes, I believe it was.
Over at the Crow’s Nest in Maplewood, a clutch of metalheads has been serving the “heaviest” brunch in town for better than half a year now.
The “Metal Brunch” does not feature the Exodus Eggs Benedict or the Corrosion of Conformity Corned Beef Hash, or any gimmicky menu items based on heavy metal, per se. It does feature some high-calorie, hangover-slaying breakfast dishes tweaked with original touches, served to the strains of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Venom, and other classic metal acts, courtesy of various Pandora stations on the pub’s stereo. It’s not, as they say, to everyone’s taste.
The menu itself (at bottom) is an homage to the metal. Bartender / metalhead / wiseguy Kenny Snarzyk designed it to be instantly recognizable to a certain crowd – the font and visuals are borrowed from the cover of the Metallica “Ride the Lightning” album. (Snarzyk also plays bass in humorous-yet-metal band Fister, reported Crow’s Nest owner Mike McLaughlin.)
The creative food, said McLaughlin, is a continuation of the fun brunches he used to host at his lamented previous tavern, The Bleeding Deacon.
A “Kitchen Breakfast” of eggs, bacon, fries, and peppercorn aioli is always served with Crystal hot sauce on the side. Eggs over-easy are heavily peppered (above left). The Eggs Benedict features breaded eggs, which are poached, dredged in an egg wash, and deep fried. Waffle fries are topped with a dill-truffle sauce and bacon. Cream for coffee is served in a shot glass (above right), which is kinda metal, really.
The veggie burger is really a fried, falafel-esque patty, topped with caramelized onions and tomato aioli. A veggie slinger (below left) is not an oxymoron (and definitely not vegan) -- it consists of veggie burger, meatless chili, cheddar, fried egg, and breakfast potatoes on Pugliese bread. Chicken and waffles, though more R&B than metal, are available.
And now, for the metalhead foodies (what – you think we don’t exist?), a look at the music.
McLaughlin, Snarzyk and co. have brought the metal to the brunch crowd, but the gastropub owner had his doubts.
“I’m more of a punk guy,” said McLaughlin, “but I always felt Discharge and Motorhead were the same band in different outfits.” (Laughs) “Also, I was a skater kid, and we had little battles with the hesher kids – we didn’t mix that well.”
McLaughlin is not very convincing. Anyone who programs Pandora channels for Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, and Venom cannot deny the metal.
“I always start Metal Brunch with Priest or Maiden,” said McLaughlin. “I really like dark stuff like King Diamond, too -- the Venom station plays Bathory, and some of that.”
About some of the other bands that the metal crowd can expect to hear:
Last Sunday’s Metal Brunch included special moments with Judas Priest’s “Riding on the Wind,” AC/DC’s “If You Want Blood,” Ozzy’s “Diary of a Madman,” Megadeth’s (unintentionally hilarious) “Sweating Bullets” and “Take No Prisoners,” Iron Maiden’s “Number of the Beast” and “Moonchild,” and Metallica’s “Fight Fire with Fire.”
The music at Metal Brunch, it should be stressed, is not played overloud. You can actually have an audible conversation or read a book there.
But wouldn’t you rather throw the horns, yell “Death to false metal!” and dig into some truffle fries?
11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
The Crow’s Nest