Best Bet: Eggs for brunch

The Midnight Snack at Restaurant Iris was inspired by late-night buffets at Mardi Gras balls in New Orleans, said chef-owner Kelly English.Phots by Michael DonahueThe Commercial Appeal

The Midnight Snack at Restaurant Iris was inspired by late-night buffets at Mardi Gras balls in New Orleans, said chef-owner Kelly English.Phots by Michael DonahueThe Commercial Appeal

Instead of chocolate, marshmallow, coconut or malted milk Easter eggs this Sunday, try them deep-fried.

Or maybe have your eggs poached with shrimp remoulade or with spinach and catfish.

The Sunday brunch dishes I found on my Easter egg hunt aren't your usual "two dots and a dash" (fried eggs and bacon) restaurant offerings. These are snazzier.

The Bacon and Eggs dish at The Brass Door features deep-fried eggs topped with a bacon jam over potato hash.

The Bacon and Eggs dish at The Brass Door features deep-fried eggs topped with a bacon jam over potato hash.

Rizzo's Diner serves Blackened Catfish Eggs Benedict for Saturday and Sunday brunch.

Rizzo's Diner serves Blackened Catfish Eggs Benedict for Saturday and Sunday brunch.

Bacon and Eggs on the menu at The Brass Door isn't the traditional breakfast pairing. Instead, the restaurant takes poached eggs, puts them in an ice bath to "make them more stable, dredge them in flour, bread crumbs and deep fry them," explained bartender Carter Crihfield.

During Saturday and Sunday brunch, the eggs are served with housemade bacon jam, chili-spiked maple syrup and potato hash with a choice of bangers (sausages) or applewood bacon.

I'd never had a deep-fried egg, but when I tasted one with the bacon jam on top, I was hooked. It's delicious. It was created by The Brass Door's former chef, Scott Donnelly.

The Brass Door includes several other egg dishes on its weekend brunch list. You can get a "BELT," which is two fried eggs, six slices of bacon, mixed greens and sliced tomato on toasted country bread with garlic aioli. "The Madison Ave." is a three-egg frittata with smoked salmon, roasted red peppers and potatoes served with bangers or applewood bacon. "The Brass Breakfast Burger" is a hand-formed patty with fried egg, smoked cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato and bacon and garlic aoli. This is served with chips, which are fries.

Finally, you can get an "Irish Breakfast" -- two eggs any style, rashers of bacon, black (blood sausage) and white (maize and rice) puddings, bangers, potatoes, baked beans, mushrooms, grilled tomatoes and toasted soda bread.

In Ireland, "every pub, every bed and breakfast and every hotel" serves an Irish breakfast, said Seámus Loftus, The Brass Door owner who is from Ballina in County Mayo. It's served all day long, he added. You can order an Irish breakfast at midnight.

The Midnight Snack at Restaurant Iris is what you wish you could make at home for a snack at midnight. It's a poached egg on top of warm shrimp remoulade and a piece of toasted brioche.

"After every Mardi Gras parade, there's a Mardi Gras ball," said the restaurant's executive chef Kelly English, who grew up in New Orleans. "At midnight at those balls, they serve almost like a brunch, usually a buffet thing, to let you keep the party going or (let you) get home a little safer."

The Midnight Snack is "kind of a fancy play on dishes" he would see at those meals, English said. "You'll always see egg dishes and seafood dishes."

It's not on the menu, but customers can order it, he said.

Rizzo's Diner offers Blackened Catfish Eggs Benedict on their Saturday and Sunday brunches. This tasty dish consists of Mississippi farm-raised catfish, Cajun hollandaise, poached eggs, sauteed spinach and an English muffin.

"Catfish is a Southern staple, but I hate the fact that most places you go it's fried," said Michael Patrick Rizzo's executive chef.

His catfish is "pan-seared, blackened in a cast-iron skillet. I wanted to do something that was Southern. And catfish, you can't get more Southern than that, in my opinion."

Rizzo's Diner also offers Southern Style Eggs Benedict on its weekend brunches. This is made with a sliced slow-roasted pork loin, poached eggs, Cajun hollandaise and an English muffin.

If you still want more eggs when you finish your Benedicts at Rizzo's Diner, you can order the French toast bananas Foster. The caramelized bananas and vanilla bean gelato come with egg-battered Texas toast.

The Brass Door is at 152 Madison, (901) 572-1813; Restaurant Iris is at 2146 Monroe; (901) 590-2828; Rizzo's Diner is at 106 East G. E. Patterson; (901) 523-2033.

Michael Donahue: (901) 529-2797; donahue@commercialappeal.com

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