Popcorn, bacon lard, and coffee grounds is how all brunch meals should begin. At Big Grove Tavern, they call this popcorn flavor "breakfast."
I recommend beginning with a drink. We sampled the local Columbia Roastery coffee from around the corner, which is smooth, and which was also refilled just when necessary because somehow Big Grove Tavern has not yet garnered the brunch crowd it deserves. Also on their drink menu is the Glider, a citrus-gin concoction and a perfect replacement for a mimosa.
Pork salsa verde with two poached farm eggs, potato hash, and warm tortillas was choice number one. Slow roasted pork pieces with a rich tomatillo verde sauce might be more than enough reason to pull into Big Grove on a Saturday or Sunday morning. It emulsified beautifully with the warm, runny yolk of the poached eggs. The meat was delicately seasoned and separated easily with a fork. The potato hash included caramelized onions and shallots and was a superb example of peasant potatoes: not too dry or overcooked. This dish came with two warm corn tortillas, which didn't rise above routine, but helped round out the textures of the plate.
Choice number two: fried egg sandwich with bacon, avocado, and aioli on country bread served with mixed greens. The sandwich had a freshness and lightness, despite being filled with fatty items — the addition of crispy lettuce helped save it from being too one-sided. I could eat this sandwich at any time of the day, if only because the egg, when punctured, oozes gently into the folds of leafy greens.
The Nueske bacon on the side never disappoints.
The waitstaff was appropriately attentive and helped answer any of my questions, even if that meant stepping away to find out.
As far as atmosphere, some of the choice cuts included, "Don't know much about history" by Sam Cooke, "Baby, It's You" by the Shirelles, and many other terrible remnants of Pandora's purchased rights-to list. I feel bad for the employees who spend hours waiting on people and have to listen to this shit. I've done it, and it is coma-worthy. As a recent transplant, I'm confused at the lack of filled seats in this place. It's a great brunch option in this town.
After our long stay at Big Grove, we decided to order a pecan cinnamon roll for the road. Hours later, it was a gratifying and lush treat that I had almost forgotten about ordering and I'm glad I didn't. The buttery, flaky layers were tightly wrapped around aromatic pecans, almonds, brown sugar, and cinnamon. A thin light layer of shiny glaze covered the top, but it wasn't dripping in it. There was a pleasant sweetness to the buttery crust and rich insides.
Despite the deficiencies, I am pleased the Big Grove staff are offering brunch on the weekends. The ever-changing menu means I'll never get complacent. And at least, for now, I know I'll have a seat available.