Bacon Hash from Armsby Abbey on Main Street in Worcester, MA

Bacon Hash – Bacon Lardons, Hash of Yukon Gold Potatoes, Leeks, Carrots & Brussels Sprouts topped with a145˚ Local organic egg, Celery Root Puree, Beet Puree, fresh Apple and Herb Oil.

I first think of beer when I think of the Armsby Abbey.  In fact, I think of the finest beer selection in the city.  I next think of the food ordered to accompany my beer, food made with the finest and, when possible, local ingredients.  After my recent Foodies brunch, however, I shall also associate the Armsby Abbey with a most wonderful brunch. Brunch at the Abbey is remarkably consistent with lunch and dinner – every item carefully prepared with the highest quality, fresh ingredients. I began my meal, at the server’s suggestion, with the Bourbon Milk Punch, a delightful drink that packs more holiday cheer than any eggnog. I followed this with the Founder’s Breakfast, a rum-based punch that nearly rivaled my first drink for flavor. I finished my first drink and was well on my way to completing the second before my sweet potato soup arrived. (Be prepared. Meals at the Abbey take a bit of time to prepare.  But when the drinks are beyond perfection, relax and enjoy the experience. ) The thick and creamy, curried soup had quite a kick and took the edge off my appetite. The main course arrived just after I finished my second drink and was beautifully plated. The gently cooked egg rested on a bed of subtly flavored celery root puree, which had perhaps more texture than flavor. The hash was unlike any I had ever had before whether in a diner or five-star restaurant – savory chunks of bacon, potato, leek, carrot, and Brussels sprouts. I don’t know that I would call it “hash,” but I would call it absolutely delicious.  The chef clearly spent as much thought on the combination of textures as he did on the combined flavors. The beet puree added a bit of color to the plate and a stronger flavor to blend with the rest of the food, and the apple slices brought the meal to conclusion with just a bit of sweetness. The portion was not large, but when combined with the soup starter it was more than enough to satisfy. My overall brunch experience was not inexpensive. I did after all have soup, entrée and two mixed drinks. This meal, however, was worth every penny because every bite and every sip was a Foodies delight. -JD

 

 

If you have never been to Armsby Abbey, you must go. Anyone that knows me is aware that: 1. I LOVE Armsby and happen to frequent it often and, 2. I have extreme admiration for an exceptional Bloody Mary.

As I learned our next adventure with Foodies would be to Armsby Abbey, and for brunch, I am sure you can imagine where this review is headed….

A menu that contains the following words: Bloody Mary Bar makes me very happy, and if I see the words “homemade mix,” I can barely contain my excitement to order! You see, I am very picky about the base ingredient of a Bloody Mary – the mix. Some of the things I look for are: extremely flavorful; slightly thicker and of course offer a section of interesting alcohols to pick from. What is a Bloody Mary without garnishes to select? A boring one. But at Armsby they have many! Oh Yes, these are the key ingredients, and with them you are on the road to an exceptional Bloody Mary.

Ok, so ready? Here is what I ordered (food details later) the Square One Organic Basil Vodka, the mild mix, the garnish(s) (three max) bacon (why wouldn’t I) a pickled cucumber, carrot and of course a pepper rim. Honestly as our extremely kind/friendly/sweet server approached our table with our drinks, I began to salivate. Note: the servers and bartenders at Armsby are extremely knowledgeable about food and drink

Needless to say it was exceptional! Craving one now.

Now moving on to food. Armsby is unique in that they feature local farms for their ingredients. I ordered the country toast, as I love their bread it is house baked. I was very torn on the selection of my main entrée (the menu changes weekly) so I decided to order (another Bloody Mary) and the – Bacon Hash- Bacon Lardons, Hash of Yukon Gold Potatoes, Leeks, Carrots & Brussels Sprouts topped with a 145˚ Local organic egg, Celery Root Puree, Beet Puree, fresh Apple and Herb Oil. The bacon lardons were the perfect size and extremely delicious; cooked to perfection not a lot of fat and not overly salty. The rest of the plate was diced into the perfect size with a delectable flavor of the herb oil and the apples balanced the sweet and savory flavors that consumed my meal.

Every time I venture to Armsby the food and libation are always unique and simply outstanding. There is no place in Worcester in my mind that is comparable to Armsby Abbey.

I will be honest, it is not the most inexpensive venue but you do get what you pay for and here it is pure perfection. -LB

 

After settling into the comfortable window booth seating, I was pleased to review the ever-changing menu from Armsby Abbey and opted to start brunch with a Bloody Mary. There were numerous garnishes and options for both in, and on, the glass. I opted for a mild Bloody Mary with cucumber vodka and garnished the drink with a pickle, green olive and thick slice of crispy bacon. The thick slice of bacon was so thick it was an optimal stirrer, further infusing the flavors in the rich Bloody. For brunch, I opted for a side of bacon and the bacon hash. Now if you have not noticed there seems to be a common theme to my meal and that is bacon. Armsby Abbey’s bacon is hand sliced, smoked, and beyond incredible. The bacon hash included Yukon potatoes, Brussels sprouts, carrots, and leeks. The hash—while quite different from traditional hash—was exceptional. All the various flavors were apparent and the hash was served with a beet puree and celery root puree that furthered the dish with a wonderful accent. Along with the hash was a 145° egg – similar to a poached egg, but a little bit softer. The presentation was that of a five star restaurant, something that is rarely found in the morning breakfast scene. Overall, the brunch scene—from Bloody Mary’s, presentation, and flavor—is a most. -DO

Christmas shopping for fine art collectibles and inspiration at Vaillancourt Folk Art in Sutton, MA