Hands down, Miel Brasserie Provençal tops the brunching experience in Boston. Exquisite organic cuisine celebrating France's Côte d’Azur region is served overlooking Boston Harbor's Fort Point Channel and The Intercontinental Hotel's gardens. Situated in between utterly charming landscapes, the aforementioned waterfront and The Rose Kennedy Greenway, The InterContinental Boston reflects all kinds of elegance beginning with its stunning blue glass and polished granite exterior right down to the macaroon trees offered at Miel's brunch buffet. Yes, I said macaroon tree. It blossomed with the soft chewy French delicacies in flavors of raspberry, hazelnut, vanilla, chocolate and more. But we'll get to that in a moment....
We arrived promptly for our 12pm reservation where a host greeted us warmly but wasn't able to seat us just yet. He disappeared into the restaurant. A different hostess appeared and spoke on the phone before looking up to inquire about our parties reservation. At the same time host #1 returned and attempted to seat us indoors. I politely reminded him we requested to sit outside. He looked rather confused and slightly bothered. While the interior looked picture perfectly inviting, it was a gorgeous day outside and we wanted to take full advantage. The hostess then jumped in to explain you can not make reservations for the terrace, it is a first come first serve basis. I understand this is typical of restaurants with outdoor seating. Confusion on my part was due to the conformation statement "You're all set for a party 5 on the terrace at 12pm" spoken when I made my reservation earlier in the week. Regardless, I again asked if were possible to be seated outside?? Turns out, we could be! Turns out, there were a number of open tables on the terrace, at least five or six. Outdoor seating policy is a moot point if you have enough open tables! Correct? Not to mention if you are an establishment advertising your outdoor dining space, you probably shouldn't make customers feel strange when they request to sit outside. Basically, it was a cluster of an arrival that I felt should have gone a lot smoother. However, our service from there on out was just the opposite; the waiters were charming, the execution of courses well timed and plates and silverware were cleared promptly after every course. When our waiter took the time to explain how brunching at Miel works, jaws dropped and excitement bubbled over. For $32 a person you have full access to the buffet as well as your choice of two entrees.
Not one, but two! Can't decide between savory and sweet? Get one of each! Want your Eggs Benedict and waffles, too? Then this is where you need to be brunching. The entrees are scaled down versions of a typical brunch entree, but still. Meanwhile, this is no ordinary buffet. There are your typical breakfast options including scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, breakfast potatoes, buttermilk pancakes, steel cut oats and a made-to-order omlets. I steered clear of these (remember: two entrees) and went straight for the cheese, fruits and vegetables. The French cheese board was outstanding, offering a serious variety of impeccable cheeses along with golden raisins, bunches of grapes and sesame breadsticks. The berry platter stood out with notably the sweetest most plump blackberries I have ever tasted, juicy raspberries and fresh strawberries. The melons were also in attendance with perfectly cut pieces of honeydew, watermelon and cantaloupe. A roasted vegetable platter from which I'd recommend the asparagus and eggplants and a meat platter all beckoned with their limitless possibilities for pairings. The dessert bar was home to not only macaroon trees and macaroon flowers and macaroons on silver platters, but creme brulee, yougurt parfaits, mini eclairs, fruits tarts and more.I wanted to eat the macaroons by the handful. Like I said, I kept it light knowing full well what lied ahead. I should also mention juice and coffee are included in the fixed $32 price. Miel has a fabulous selection of breakfast cocktails, but in a rare moment, I didn't feel like imbibing.
I did have a sip of of my sisters French 75 ($14) made with gin, fresh lemon, granulated sugar and bubbles. It was an effervescent cocktail fit for a birthday girl.
For my first entree I decided on the Provencal Baked Eggs, a sunny side up egg blanketing a bowl of Ratatouille. This was excellent and definitely something different than what I am used to eating for brunch.
My Dad and my sisters boyfriend Tray were equally as impressed with their Steak and Eggs which came over truffled hash browns and sauteed spinach.
My Mom and Leah both choose the Crab Cake Benedict - a poached egg with spinach, shallots, and roasted red pepper hollandaise. They seemed to rave more than the rest of us, insisting we should probably all order it for our second entree. Suffering from a case of food envy? Not a problem, because you can order that entree next! The Benedict was tempting, but I had my heart set on a Crepe. The Crepe Au Chocolat Nutella with sauteed bananas to be precise. Crepes are one of my favorite things about France, I ate them almost daily when I was in Paris. This crepe was flawless, with a little nostalgia in every bite. Everyone else really enjoyed their second entree, from Leah's Grand Mariner French Toast with a honey orange glaze, to my Mom's Waffles Les Gauffres with blackberry compote, to Tray's Crepe Aux Fruits Rouge with sauteed berries and shaved white chocolate and lastly, my Dad's Lemon Marinated Salmon Tartare with avocado, black olive dust (so cool!) and tarragon creme fraiche. Between the five of us, we ate every entree on the menu short of the Crepe Jambon et Fromage. With cuisine remaining true to the region of Provencal France, Miel's brunch dishes are innovative and executed with precision. In addition, their brunch truly embodies the age old concept that variety is the spice of life. Come for the buffet, come for savory, come for sweet, come if you are the type of bruncher who can never make up your mind about what to order. I felt like we had it all at our disposal.
We were nothing short of impressed. It was great to spend a beautiful day in Boston with my family! A very Happy 25th Birthday and Fathers Day it was!