What: $35 for unlimited brunch cocktails (including a Bloody Mary bar and margaritas), coffee, and small plates of Latin-Asian fusion inspired cuisine.
Where: La Biblioteca, 1610 Little Raven Street, Suite 200 (next door to sister restaurant Zengo)
When: Saturdays and Sundays, 10am-2:30pm
Pros: The “unlimited” part is obviously a major pro. Bottomless cocktails rampant in brunches around town, but Richard Sandoval’s restaurants Tamayo, Zengo and La Biblioteca get major brunch bonus points for offering unlimited eats as well. If you come hungry (and ready for a few drinks) you more than get your money’s worth with this weekend deal.
Cons: Like 303’s happy hour reviewer before me, I have a hard time with the Latin-Asian fusion concept. These cuisines both have such strong flavors that it often seems like they are competing on the plate instead of elevating each other. But with the freedom to try any (or all) of the small plates, each diner is sure to find their favorites.
If you’ve ever tried Zengo’s brunch, then La Biblioteca’s will look quite familiar. The next door neighbors offer virtually the same menu options with a few tweaks that set them apart. While Zengo’s got steamed buns and more mimosa variety, La Biblioteca has two versions of sliders (both of which should be part of your ordering plan) as well as a bloody bar and a rare but oh-so-welcome brunch offering: margaritas.
The Bloody Bar is a real draw for anyone who loves customizing this classic themselves.This one is not the most expansive I’ve seen around town, but all the essentials are there (bacon!) along with a pretty impressive hot sauce collections for spicing up your cocktail and the infused liquors (vodkas for Marys and tequilas for Marias) ups the creativity of these cocktails. La Biblioteca also offers a green bloody option, a tomatillo-based mix that is much lighter than its red cousin making it great for spring and ideal for anyone who usually avoids bloodys because of a tomato juice-aversion.
Though margs are not typically part of a brunch menu, my time at La Biblioteca left me wishing they were. Especially the subtly sweet Grilled Pineapple Margarita. Not overly cloying but with enough fruity flavor to make it feel thoroughly tropical, I’d visit again just for this drink.
Food options here range from sushi and dim sum to a benedict and hash, but one of my favorites was an item that seemed out of place on a Latin-Asian menu, but was delicious nonetheless. The House Ground Beef Slider is exactly what it sounds like, a straightforward all American burger, miniaturized. Many sliders suffer from dry meat and stale buns, but this one was juicy and just right with a sesame seed bun to top it off. The Anchiote-Hoisin Braised Pork Slider is another tasty choice, though the sweetness of the hoisin overpowered the anchiote a bit.
For tofu lovers and haters alike, the Crispy Tofu is a must-try.
I am far from a fan of this vegetarian staple, but the texture of this dish made the tofu seem almost cheese-like (think big, thick slices of the Greek cheese saganaki which holds its shape when fried). Paired with a ginger sesame sweet chili sauce, there was a nice depth to this dish. The fresh, coconut-spiked Ceviche Dorado with mahi mahi went perfectly with my margarita, and if you want a sweet treat, go for the Churros with raspberry-yuzu coulis.
Though some dishes left me more puzzled than pleased (like the chorizo benedict with a pile of kimchi on it), overall this is one of the best brunch deals you can get in town. It gives diners the chance to challenge their palates (you might love kimchi and chorizo!) without fear because there’s no commitment needed when ordering. And while all-you-can-eat is not a new concept- I’m talking to you, Country Buffet- it’s a treat to be able to indulge your inner glutton in a place with a sophisticated yet funky atmosphere and quality food coming from the kitchen of one of the world’s leading innovators of contemporary Latin cuisine.
All photography by Adam Ripplinger