After several years of serving one of the nicest Sunday brunches in town, Remington's in the Adam's Mark Hotel (9103 East 39th Street) discontinued its buffet in April. It was "a corporate decision," former food and beverage director Tom Williams said at the time. Remington's has revived the brunch -- but it seems as if something has been lost in the resuscitation. Priced at $16.95 for adults, the current Sunday brunch has brought back the pianist, the omelet station and a beautiful array of desserts. However, on one recent visit the salad bar included a strange assortment ranging from bone-dry couscous to a gloppy sweet potato salad and a big bowl of mushy peel-and-eat shrimp.
Hot dishes were even worse. Instead of eggs Benedict, there was a soggy ersatz Egg McMuffin, complete with a slice of American cheese. A tray labeled "hot appetizers" looked like a junk drawer of culinary odds and ends. Oddly, there were no potato offerings. A manager wandering by our table could provide no explanation but did put her hand on her hip as she said, "I told the kitchen, 'You can't do a brunch without potatoes!'" You tell 'em, sister.
A "chef" in a toque positioned near the omelet station wandered away so often that patrons practically had to light a flare to get some eggs, let alone a slice of chewy pork loin that was carved and unceremoniously slapped onto a glass salad bowl. So much for showmanship.
A far showier -- and tastier -- brunch awaits Sunday diners at Café Maison (408 East 63rd Street), where $14.95 buys one of four superb hot entrees (including smoked salmon hash and a rich French toast stuffed with walnuts and chopped Granny Smith apples) and a "cold buffet" generously arrayed with croissants, cheeses, sliced ham and beef, bagels, pasta salad and a couple of tempting desserts. The place is a cozy neighborhood bistro, so it sometimes takes a while to get a seat at one of the mismatched tables. But as they say in Paris, juste attente.
After all, sometimes it's worth it to "just wait." Ask local chef Diane Dougherty, whose patience was rewarded on September 28 when -- after three consecutive nominations -- she finally was named "Chef of the Year" by the Greater Kansas City Chef's Association at its annual awards banquet. Dougherty, who already had pocketed two international culinary medals, had worried that she might become the Susan Lucci of local chefs. But just days after selling her catering company, she got the big prize. And the big trophy. "It's much too big to put on a necklace," Dougherty says. "But it's given me a lot more encouragement to go after my next goal, a spot on the U.S. Culinary Olympic Team."