When the intended "couple of glasses of wine" on an early Saturday evening turns into late-night whiskey flights and closing down the bar, Sunday is never going to involve a stand-in-line-at-the-busy-bagel-shop kind of start to the day.
On a recent such Sunday, we were in no mood for long waits or squeezing in at a "cozy" bar. Armed with the knowledge from previous visits that BoatHouse Canton (2809 Boston St.,  773-9795, boathousecanton.com) has a fairly expansive space with more tables than most brunch spots in the city, we gave it a shot. Sure enough, it was nearly packed, but we were still able to score a table without a wait. (Bonus: If you're the type who likes to sweat out last night's mistakes in the waterfront warmth, the outdoor seating and patio are open now, too.)
There are few things the liver likes more than a little hair of the dog so, naturally, we dove into the bloody mary menu (starting at $7.50). Designed like a sushi menu, drinkers check off the preferred accoutrements for their bloodys, from the type of liquor—rail or upscale vodka, chipotle flavor or Absolut Peppar, or really any liquor if you want to depart from the traditional—to garnish. The requisite celery makes an appearance but olives can be stuffed with bleu cheese or sausage, and if you dig on making your bloody mary an alcoholic meal in a glass, add on bacon, shrimp, a fried oyster, or even a Slim Jim; those who prefer healthier choices can choose from all sorts of pickled greens.
With the important stuff out of the way, it was time to address our hungover hangriness. We loaded up on breakfast food (though salads and sandwiches are available, too), hitting every end of the sweet-to-savory spectrum. Some in our party, apparently in need of curing low blood sugar, opted to share the jumbo sticky bun ($5) before the mains arrived. While cynicism abounded about the potential for this dish to be some sort of artisanal tiny nonsense, there was no disappointment when the gooey, sweet concoction arrived, nearly filling the entirety of the ample side-plate-sized dish. It was exactly what a cinnamon bun should be: warm, drizzled with cream cheese icing, and big enough for several to share.
Not able to choose between the benedicts for our main, we ordered the roasted veggie benedict ($10) with fried eggplant, grilled zucchini, and roasted red peppers, and the waterfront benedict ($16) with tomato, prosciutto, and sauteed crab. We adored that the vegetable version utilized the thick, firm piece of lightly fried eggplant as a substitute for the typical English muffin. Upon piercing with a fork, the shiny white poached eggs spilled their creamy yolks over the tower of brightly flavorful in-season veggies (and the waterfront benedict's generous lumps of crab). The crispy prosciutto on the waterfront added just the right saltiness to the bite (no salt shakers needed at this table). The dishes were aptly sauced with rich, lemony house-made hollandaise—not too much, not too little.
Listed under "Bar Favorites," the smoked salmon bruschetta ($12) is available as part of the brunch menu and, like the cinnamon bun, is larger in execution than might be expected given its branding as a sort of appetizer or snack. Four toasty crostinis were lightly smeared with a subtly spiced horseradish cream topped with crumbled hard-boiled egg. Atop that lay the salmon that, while the menu advertises it as "flaked," we would characterize more as "generously piled." Pickled onions and fried capers added the necessary tang and acidity to balance it all.
The chicken and waffles ($12) was equally satisfying. The crispy fried tenders were juicy and moist on the inside and the waffles had the right contrast of crunchy texture on the outside with fluffiness within. We'd probably forgo choosing the chocolate variety again (plain and blueberry are available as well) because the thick maple syrup added all the sweetness we needed.
Not ones to turn down cheese (ever), we ordered pimento cheese grits ($3). Unlike some grits of this variety, which can wind up being too creamy or soupy, these were firm enough to to hold their shape on the plate and boasted a rich, yet not overwhelming, cheesiness.
The standout brunch star for the meat lovers at the table was an enormous steak, egg, and cheese sandwich ($13.50) that's really a classy cheese steak happily masquerading as breakfast food. Between two fat slices of fresh ciabatta bread, a fried egg rests atop many thin slices of juicy beef (which our waitress was kind enough to persuade the kitchen to prepare—at her suggestion—slightly more on the rare side than the usual medium-or-more doneness) that intermingle with sweet caramelized onions, soft melted havarti, and just a bit of horseradish cream. The ensuing mouth party almost rivaled the previous night's actual party.
Full of brunch goodness, we glanced at the outdoor lounge-y seating and considered settling in for some waterfront crushes and oysters during our next visit.