Sunday Brunch at Batanga: It's More Than Just Tapas

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Once upon a time, there was a magical land that sold $3 sangrias and half-price bottles of wine during Sunday brunch. That magical land was called Batanga. And they had me at sangria...

So, I went there last Sunday to try this Latin brunch out.

"But wait," you say, "isn't Batanga a tapas place? Who wants tapas for brunch?" To that I say, "Yes, yes it is. And I do - because it's also so much more."

In addition to a selection of their signature small plates, on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the restaurant offers full-size brunch classics (think eggs Benedict and vanilla-spiced pancakes) as well as Latin favorites (think chilaquilles and grilled vegetable a la plancha).

In my humble opinion, nothing cures a Saturday night hangover like a few fish tacos and some Chambord-spiked red wine sangria. So that's just what my table ordered, along with ropa vieja, an egg sandwich and the stuffed French toast.

Despite the place being nearly empty (why doesn't anybody go downtown?), it took quite some time for our food to arrive. I was fine with that, but only because I was looking forward to downing another sangria.

When our plates did arrive, they were worth the wait. My ropa vieja was wonderful; a mound of tender shredded brisket in a light, slightly sweet tomato sauce came served over a diced sweet potato, onion, and pepper hash and -- since it was brunch -- topped off with two delicately poached eggs. The cilantro and onion salsa criolla scattered throughout added just a slight crunch.

As I cracked the egg open, the bright yolk oozed into the dish creating a beautiful array of flavors and colors before me. It was delightful, albeit a bit sloppy; While I managed to fork-swipe the entire dish into my mouth, next time, I'd order some bread on the side -- it would have worked wonders to sop all of the juices up.

My fiancé's order, the egg sandwich, was also quite the meal. A savory zucchini and onion omelet replaced your typical dry eggs, while thin shavings of Serrano ham, thickly sliced tomato, and a creamy, garlicky aioli filled the rest of the lightly toasted, sweet brioche bun. The giant hunks of fried patatas alongside didn't hurt either. I managed to sneak a few bites to confirm its ultra-goodness.

I ordered a bottle of wine (I mean, it was half price...so I had to, right?) as the rest of my table savored their jalapeño & slaw topped fish tacos and the dish that garnered the most oohs and aahs -- a heaping plate of guava-and-cream-cheese-stuffed French toast dolloped not-so-lightly with whipped cream.

Even with the slow-ish service, I'd take this magical land any day.

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