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A classy Sunday brunch

Sunday brunch was meant for families.

Accommodating a picky younger brother who hates eggs and parents who can't stop asking if you have met your professors, a buffet brunch is the mother of all brunches. So as families invade Grounds this weekend, a 10-minute drive over to the Boar's Head Inn is a fantastic conclusion to your family's visit.

The relaxed pace allows for plenty of conversation, and the buffet offers a range of food. But this is a little classier than an average family breakfast - you won't see jeans or T-shirts anywhere in the dining room.

The brunch is reasonable for the amount and quality of food, especially if your parents are paying, the price is fixed at $20.75 per person.

Seated in a sunny room attached to the Old Mill Room, we waited patiently for our waitress to take our drink orders - coffee and pineapple juice. And then we promptly ventured forth to examine the buffet. Spread across several tables in the Old Mill Room, the buffet included eggs, waffles, fruit, ham, sausages, biscuits, salads, chicken, cheeses and cakes.

The gem of the brunch was the chef who manned the omelet and waffle table. He created omelets to each patron's specifications. We ended up with a ham, onion and cheese omelet that was absolutely delicious. As every ingredient in the fluffy omelet was well represented, it was a perfect beginning to our meal.

Our second trip to the buffet wasn't so focused.

Trying to exploit all the options the buffet offers, we returned with cantaloupe, pineapple, sausage, biscuits and a waffle.

The fresh fruit was particularly good not because it tasted amazing, but because there was plenty of it. At a non-buffet breakfast joint, fresh fruit doesn't normally end up on the patron's plate. But at a buffet, the patron can take as much or as little of it as he or she wants.

Although our flaky biscuits were good, we noticed some at the bottom of the heated silver container that appeared a tad on the burnt side.

Even though the Boar's Head Inn is not immune to potential buffet food problems such as an item staying out longer than it should the staff does a good job of replenishing different items. To complement the biscuits, the Boar's Head Inn supplies individual jars of Dickinson's jelly.

Just like the omelets, the waffles are made on request and can be covered with maple syrup, strawberries and whipped cream. The airy waffles were softer than they were crispy, which we liked.

After this second round we got full and took a break to catch up on each other's lives.

On this particular weekend, several smartly dressed older couples, a few families and a few 20-somethings composed the clientele.

A harp player, not so discreetly situated behind the dessert table, provided background music. Well-versed in buffet-goers, our waitress did not once ask if we were finished during our break. Instead, she attentively refilled half-empty coffee cups and glasses of water.

Finally ready to venture to the buffet again, we turned toward the more lunch-oriented items. These included caviar, rice pilaf, chicken in a rosemary dijon sauce and various pasta and leaf salads. Each item was prepared well. The cold pasta salad had an infusion of vegetables such as tomatoes and onions, and the rosemary dijon sauce, lightly covering the chicken breasts, was surprisingly mild - almost teasing the patron by hinting at the spices.

But before we became too full, we headed for the desserts. Perhaps the most disappointing part of the buffet, the desserts were neither exceptionally creative nor exceptionally well made. The choices included chocolate tarts, apple pie, chocolate cheesecake and a chocolate raspberry laced cake, among others.

Although they weren't necessarily bad, they just didn't have any pizzazz. The only fun deserts were miniature lemon cakes, truffles and chocolate-covered strawberries.

Nearly one hour and 45 minutes after sitting down, we left the Boar's Head Inn. Our stomachs were full, and we were ready for our relaxing, colorful, tree-lined drive back to the University.

Considering all the entertaining necessary during a weekend with the parents, ending it with brunch at the Boar's Head Inn is a good choice.

Although the food quality may not be amazing, it is very good, and the service is fantastic.

After all, a buffet is more about the choices you make, and this brunch provides many good options to choose from. Your parents would agree.


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