Even before I was a restaurant reviewer, I loved going out to eat.
My husband likes to eat, but dislikes the crowds on Valentine’s Day. The “Valentine Jazz Brunch” at the Columbia Bar and Grille on the Sunday before Valentine’s Day was an excellent compromise.
The buffet brunch is held on the second floor where the impressive wooden bar takes up one whole side of the airy room. A Mimosa (champagne and orange juice) is included with brunch, but a bartender is on duty if you’d like something else with your meal.
The “Create Your Own Omelette” station was having difficulties when we arrived, so the waitress let us know that the kitchen would be happy to create whatever omelette we’d like. As it was closer to lunch than breakfast and the “entrée” choices looked inviting, we passed, but other diners happily ordered custom omelettes.
While the Jason Newman Duo on piano and bass played in the background, we sampled the buffet table. The Shrimp Bisque was warm and filling, but the best dishes were the Pan Seared Atlantic Salmon with White Wine, Garlic and Lemon Sauce and the Roasted Vegetable Lasagna which was stuffed with rich cheeses and topped with breadcrumbs. We each had two helpings and would happily order either from a regular menu.
Breakfast choices included Silver Dollar Pancakes, Sausage Links and nicely crisped Bacon. Pancakes can suffer from sitting in a chafing dish, but my husband felt that these were fresh. Marinated Chicken Breast, Steamed Peel And Eat Jumbo Shrimp and Sliced Roast Beef with Aujus and Horseradish Crème rounded out the protein offerings. Even though it was a frosty day, the cold (they were served on a bed of ice) shrimp had a satisfying crunch and solid shrimp taste that resulted in an astonishingly large pile of shells on my plate at the end of the meal.
Vegetables included nicely done Roasted Potatoes and a Green Bean with Pearl Onions medley at the buffet and a beautiful table display of fresh cut vegetables and cheeses decorated with flowers carved from tomato skins and carrots. A Mixed Field Greens Salad with bowls of “add your own” carrots, cucumbers and cherry tomatoes with a raspberry vinaigrette was a refreshing palate cleanser.
Desserts included chocolate brownie bites, yellow cake slices decorated with butterscotch, strawberry or chocolate sauce or, our favorite, white cake frosted with sweet whipped cream and garnished with strawberry slices.
Service was unobtrusive and professional. With a single red rose on every cloth-covered table and the music accenting the mood, the brunch was festive, yet understated enough to encourage conversation. Both couples and extended families seemed to be genuinely enjoying themselves and lingered over their meals in the sunlight that streamed through the windows.
My husband and I left, having had both a pleasant meal and a very pleasant conversation reminiscing about past Valentine experiences. The Columbia Bar and Grille hosts regular jazz brunches (the next one is March 4) so check out the schedule and go enjoy a romantic time in downtown Phoenixville.
If You Go:
Location: 148 Bridge St., Phoenixville
Cost: The brunch was $23.95 per person, $12.95 for children 10 and under, children 4 and under were complimentary
Hours: Monday: Closed
Sunday 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Tuesday through Thursday: 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Friday and Saturday: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Payments accepted: Cash, Credit Cards
Parking: Phoenixville on-street parking or free parking in municipal lots until 2 p.m. and free all day Sunday