Ben at our table at Rapture.
I have blogged about Charlottesville’s downtown mall before, but the brunch that trip was not so memorable, and Charlottesville is a town that brunches, so I needed to fix that. Most places offer brunch until at least 3 pm on the weekend, and that’s a beautiful, beautiful practice for this late riser. I decided we needed to commit to the Charlottesville brunching tradition and pick a spot with seating in the middle of the downtown strip and a more inventive menu than we had before. Quick scans of posted menus as we walked led me to Rapture (303 E. Main Street).
And I am glad I chose it. A random guess would tell me it’s a spot locals probably find overpriced and overhyped, but this food blogger had little to complain about. Being brunch and vacation, I chose a cocktail to start the meal.
The Sage Cup is brandy with pear-sage scrub, a splash of Grand Marnier, and bitters. If you, like me, wondered if this meant a bush was involved in the cocktail creation, you’ll be intrigued to learn that shrub is actually a type of mixer. It combines fruits or vegetables with sugar and aged vinegar. And it explains why I could not get over how tangy every sip of this drink was. The color was attractive, and that bite from the vinegar was tantalizing. The Williams brand may disagree with me, but I’m not sure the pear and brandy combined well in this drink. I think the bitters may have heightened the dissonance, but I enjoyed pondering each sip.
My husband had the eggs benedict with country ham. Biscuits were offered instead of English muffins if you want to change it up a bit.
He ate every last bite, so I have to assume he liked it. As my plate also had the homefries (grits were the other option), I can confirm they were close to heaven. When potatoes are roasted that deeply red and tossed with a salty, spicy blend of seasonings and light flour coating, I am guaranteed to love them. The onion and red bell pepper strips are just bonus.
My dish was scrambled eggs with lump crab, asparagus, and smoked tomato coulis. The asparagus was finely diced, which added a great crunch to a silky breakfast. The crab was sweet and plentiful, and the eggs were soft-scrambled and moist. The coulis was rich and layered when I tasted it on its own, but the scramble subsumed it, so I’d have liked a good amount more of that. But it was a great brunch dish overall.
Finally, the biscuit. I loved that it was toasted on the griddle. However, it was less fluffy, more chewy, so consider your preferences before choosing it over the English muffins. I like my biscuits fluffier.
I can definitely recommend Rapture for brunch on the downtown mall. It was close to ideal, and what wasn’t ideal captured my curiosity regardless.
Reviewed 27 April 13.