With the arrival of spring, Sunday drives are back in season. Before an afternoon visit to Chaumette Vineyards & Winery or Crown Valley Winery, stop for brunch at 12 West Bar & Grill in downtown Farmington.
Located cross the street from a post-Art Deco courthouse, the restaurant has the small-town casual atmosphere you'd expect (with the exception of a few modern touches, such as a few snazzy light fixtures), but the menu goes beyond Grandma's house. Nonetheless, Grandma will appreciate the blintzes and mimosas.
Start with a large, house-made cinnamon roll, which comes with a pitcher of cream-cheese icing. It’s too thick to pour, but an artful, generous swirl leaves diners happy. There are no extraneous add-ins, such as raisins or nuts—just the classic, fresh and comforting.
The Crab Cakes Benedict comes with two fat patties of crab, not lumps but real crab, lightly seasoned so not to overpower the delicate sweetness of the meat. The kitchen also understands how to poach an egg the right way, with the server asking how we'd like it cooked. The hollandaise sauce was tasty, but seemed to be lacking lemon; instead, there was an almost meaty flavor, as though it had been punched up with a little concentrated chicken or veal stock. It was good, just not the classic hollandaise.
That sauce was also on hand for a steak skillet, which included oven-roasted purple, white, and sweet potatoes, along with sautéed wild mushrooms, fresh asparagus, and a 6-ounce strip steak, cooked exactly as ordered.
The cranberry-walnut French toast wasn't quite as successful. The strawberry butter was great, but the toast was tough, the cinnamon-laced egg batter not quite soaked into the slices. The maple syrup was real, though, and the bacon was perfectly cooked.
The dessert menu seems promising. Gooey butter cake layered with chocolate, caramel, and bananas? We'll definitely order it the next time we’re in town.
As for those mimosas? We had a drive ahead, so we opted for coffee instead.
The Sunday brunch menu begins at 10 a.m., and the lunch menu is available after 11 a.m.