Sometimes, in a desperate attempt to redeem yourself from the previous evening's bad decision-making, you just want something healthier to go with your headache. And that's where B&O American Brasserie has you covered. The bar and restaurant connected to the Hotel Monaco—something that may make people overlook it as a legit destination—is known for its badass cocktail and dinner program, but if you're looking for a well-appointed-but-chill way to spend your weekend mornings/afternoons, you're gonna want to check out its brunch, too.
Sure, they have things that aren't so healthy, such as the cassoulet skillet ($14), a put-some-hair-on-your-chest mix of house made sausage, pork belly, two runny eggs, roasted vegetables, beans, and potatoes. But what surprised us were the items not often seen on brunch menus: something light yet fulfilling.
But before getting all holier-than-thou with our food choices, we decided to indulge in the $15 unlimited mimosas and a couple of bloody marys, because, well, we aren't that disciplined. The mimosas were the garden variety, with the "unlimited" really being the draw—the real shining beacon was the bloody mary. Called the Bloody Bay ($10), it features The Bay vodka—a spirit that's infused with "traditional Chesapeake seasoning"—and Laphroaig 10-year single-malt scotch (!!). It had even the staunchest of non-bloody mary drinkers in the group smiling after a sip, it was that tasty.
The only problem was that they were so good we ordered a couple more, thinking it was part of the all-you-can-drink special. We found it surprising that the server didn't better articulate this after we ordered additional drinks, because most places do include bloodys in their brunch drink special. After talking with him he decided to just charge us the cost of the unlimited special, apologizing for the miscommunication. It was a nice move that was neither expected nor needed.
We quickly forgot about the mix-up when the healthy bennie ($13) was plopped down in front of us. Two perfectly poached eggs were stacked atop a honey wheat English muffin, thick slices of tomato, a bit of goat cheese, and thinly sliced avocado. Topped with strips of fresh basil and served with a side of béarnaise sauce and a cup of fresh fruit, it was comfortingly good without the need for the nap that usually accompanies the takedown of a benedict.
The breakfast sandwich ($10) seemed like a pedestrian order at the time, and while it didn't look like anything spectacular when it arrived, it was pretty damn solid. Three strips of crunchy and salty bacon made friends with a medium-fried egg and slices of melted sharp cheddar cheese between halves of a toasted English muffin. It wasn't anything mind-bending but it was done well with good ingredients. What did spark chatter, though, was the side of home fries. These little savory golden nuggets were crispy on the outside but tender and starchy (in the best way) on the inside and had us sneaking stabs of our forks onto our friend's plate when he wasn't looking.
Keeping on our path of repentance, we thought it good to order a plate of conscious ($12). Although the irony of the name wasn't lost on us, we found the scrambled egg whites and tofu (it's listed on the menu as one or the other but they gladly added both when we asked) with sides of tomato, avocado, cottage cheese, and fruit to be a refreshing change to the normal breakfast fare. We did, however, wonder why the tomato didn't come out grilled, as listed on the menu, and why they served us a piece of pineapple that had dried out—things that definitely had us wondering how they got past the kitchen.
But despite the minor mix-ups we were left feeling pretty satisfied with our experience at B&O, especially after a couple more mimosas. And while we sipped coffee ($3) and watched people hurry by the big window looking out on Charles Street, we felt a little better about ourselves with our newfound, albeit short-lived, state of healthy decision-making. (But next time we’re totally getting that cassoulet skillet, with extra pork belly.)