Mistral first opened in Boston’s South End in the late 1990s, and has been a personal favorite for as long as I can recall. I regularly recommend this restaurant to friends and family looking for a special night out but I had never visited them for their Sunday brunch – until a week ago.
Mistral opens for brunch on Sunday at 10:30 and when we arrived at 10:45 the space was already a third full with more people filing in behind us. Despite the obvious rush, the staff was kind, courteous and quick to greet everyone as they came in, collect their coats and identify reservations.
The Mistral brunch menu is exceedingly tempting so we nibbled on the warm muffins that came with an addicting apple butter spread, while we looked through our options and discussed what we wanted to try. Their menu consists of starters like warm cinnamon buns that require 15 minutes to bake fresh as well as unique items like truffled devil eggs; thin crust pizzas; and of course main dishes – which include both sweet and savory options.
I opted to try a special that day, grapefruit sabayon. Sabayon is the creamy looking custard in the photo above and it is made with egg yolk, sugar and a sweet wine. Mistral’s recipe includes Champagne and the combination of this saucy/custard drizzled over the fresh grapefruit was so addicting even Sergio was digging in (and he doesn’t like grapefruit) a fact he kept saying while he scooped chunks of the appetizer off the plate.
While Sergio’s brunch option was visually more impressive, both items were beautifully presented and equally satisfying. Sergio’s order of Mistral’s Graham Cracker Crusted Challah French Toast with Anjou Pears and Chantilly must have been 4″ thick. The French Toast came with a warmed bottle of real maple syrup that smelled and tasted delicious but in truth was hardly necessary with the powdered sugar and pears.
My order of the Mushroom Spinach and Gruyere Frittata and Pommes Lyonnaise were presented in hot black skillets. The frittata was light and flavorful — anyone who enjoys mushrooms would want to try this plate — and the Pommes Lyonnaise offered a nice contrast to the eggs; salty and crispy. While the potatoes were meant to be shared, poor Sergio hardly got more than a bite.
As you can probably surmise from my write up, I would recommend trying Mistral’s brunch, but I’d strongly suggest making a reservation first. Mistral is located at 223 Columbus Avenue in the South End.