ALEX COGGIN ’16
Tisane Euro Asian Café is the place to be for Sunday brunch. Squeezing through the door and towards the front desk putting my name in with the waiter was not an easy task. Once I gave the hostess my name, it was about a 15-minute wait for a table. Located on Farmington Avenue, the restaurant is about ten minutes from campus.
Tisane is another word for herbal tea, and the café is true to its name. It has a variety of herbal teas to choose from, as well as coffee.
When I visited, the restaurant was packed tightly with a diverse mix of people, from hipsters to more conservative types. The bar area was overflowing with people, many of whom were waiting for tables in the dining area. The restaurant was also relatively loud and the lights were dim. The walls were decorated with interesting art as well as a striking number of restaurant awards. There were easily 20 awards decorating the walls. One of the more recent ones I noticed was a “Best of Hartford 2014” plaque.
Tisane serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily and on Sunday, they also serve brunch. Lunch and dinner items include sandwiches, salads, noodles, burgers, and appetizers. Many of the dishes have are either Asian or have an Asian-fusion component, such as the barbeque chicken spring rolls.
The brunch menu has all the classic favorites as well as many other creative options – take the ‘Texas Red Eye,” for example. This dish includes toast topped with caramelized onions, shaved steak, mushrooms, poached eggs, hot sauce and blue cheese fondue. Had I not eaten nearly three-quarters of a large pizza the night before, I probably would have ordered this item. It sounds like an amazing combination, but definitely too rich for my Sunday morning state. A more traditional item, “The Little Frenchman,” features a buttery croissant with eggs, smoky bacon, and cheese.
I ordered the “El Camino” which was a toasted tortilla served with three eggs cooked any style, refried black beans, pepper jack cheese, fresh avocado, salsa, and sour cream. The dish came with a side of home fries.
I also ordered a Bloody Mary to go with my meal, because from looking around the restaurant and the number of people drinking, it seemed like I had to give it a try. I definitely made the right decision. Made with herbed vodka, the Bloody Mary was nice and spicy, making it the perfect addition to my brunch.
There are several varieties of Bloody Mary at Tisane, including the original “proud Mary”, a chili Cajun spiced version called the “Ragin’ Cajun,” and a barbeque inspired “Bloody Texan.” You can also order pitchers of Bloody Mary’s.
Also on the drink menu are many alcoholic tea combinations. Different teas are paired with appropriate liquors to make a drink. The “Earl & George” is earl grey tea with Bailey’s mint.
The El Camino meal itself was something in-between art and breakfast. The tortilla was laid out perfectly and spread with beans. The eggs were placed on top, with the fresh avocado, salsa, cheese, and sour cream used as the final touches. My eggs were over easy, just as I ordered them. Each component was delicious, and the fresh avocado was really what put the dish over the top. The home fries were delicious as well, although I was barely able to finish half of my serving, given the generous size of the portions.
My meal total came to about 17 dollars before tip, and that included my drink. I definitely did not leave hungry and at only six dollars, the Bloody Mary was by most standards a bargain.
My only complaint would be that it did take about 15 minutes to be seated and the wait could have been managed better. I normally have no issue waiting, but the staff needed to turn the vacated tables over faster. Empty tables would sit dirty with used dishes for up to ten minutes before someone would bus it and set it for the next party. The staff was inevitably extremely busy, but given that the line was nearly out the door, they could have been more attentive to getting people seated. Once seated, however, the service was extremely attentive and quick.
Overall, Tisane Euro Asian Café was a good find, and I will definitely head back to try the lunch and dinner options. Brunch is definitely one of their most popular attractions and for good reason. The menu is interesting, the drinks are good, and the atmosphere is unique. I definitely recommend checking out Tisane.
537 Farmington Ave, Hartford, CT 06105