What’s better than Sunday brunch? Saturday AND Sunday brunch. Pinch Kitchen in the budding El Portal district takes our favorite Sunday tradition and extends it through the weekend for two days of indulgence.
When Chefs John Gallo and Rene Reyes are together in the kitchen, their culinary wizardry knows no bounds. And their mastery of flavors, textures and presentation has resulted in what we consider one of our favorite brunches and one of the best in town.
Brunch at Pinch Kitchen is eye opening. It one ups everything you know about the meal. Sure, you’ve had a traditional mimosa, but why bother ordering one when you can have a blood orange mimosa? At Pinch, these blood orange juice beauties will become your new brunch go-tos.
Just as refreshing is the signature ceviche, which is available for both brunch and dinner because, well, it’s amazing. We are not the biggest fans of ceviche — it’s everywhere — but this is a ceviche we can believe in: corvina, shrimp, corn, red onion, aji limo, citrus, yucca chips. It’s light, perfect for summer and a great way to whet your appetite for Pinch’s heavier fare.
Put an egg on anything, and we’ll eat it. Put an egg on already awesome food, and we’ll eat ourselves into a food coma. A steal at $9, Pinch’s egg in a basket is a must. The description is simple — pinch potato herbed-bowl, speck and whole wheat toast — but don’t let that deceive you; the plate packs a punch. Dunk the bread into the potato foam and egg, throw some speck on it and enjoy heaven on earth.
If egg porn were in the dictionary, the eggs benedict at Pinch would be the entry’s photo. It is straight up food smut: two soft poached organic eggs, andouille sausage, potato roll and Pays Basque hollandaise. Thankfully, we’re over 18 and could experience this. It was so good, we needed a cigarette after.
We could go on about the egg dishes — and we will. In the pork n’ eggs, the eggs take a backseat for us. The pork steak was the star of the plate and the potatoes killed it as part of the supporting cast; everyone at our table was stabbing their fork at the latter.
What if you don’t like eggs? You’re covered, too. The brisket sliders are tasty, and the guava-stuffed French toast will stuff you. Let’s focus on the latter here for a second: We’ve had our share of stuffed French toast with chocolate, Nutella and other sweets, but guava in French toast? Never. And now that we’ve had it here, that “never” has changed to “always.”
We don’t typically opt for dessert at brunch — it’s already an indulgent meal for us — but if there’s a place to do it, it’s Pinch. The orange-chocolate soufflé, which we’ve lauded before (along with the ceviche), is still a winner but the baba au rhum with a Diplomatico rum sauce actually edges out its dessert sibling. It’s a close race, though, and you will love either one.
Despite all the food we’ve had at Pinch for brunch and dinner, there’s one thing that we enjoy above all: the restaurant’s consistency. It is consistently good, and that’s not easy to find in the restaurant scene here. When we walk in, we know we’re in for a quality experience. And that, to us, is what makes Pinch worth your money, time and calories.