On Easter morning, “The Chef” and I had brunch reservations at Tivoli & Lee. It’s located right in the center of Lee’s Circle, a very prime location for an up and coming restaurant. Tivoli & Lee’s menu had a variety of interesting dishes that I couldn’t wait to try…
Bottomless Mimosa. Usually, they place it in a different cup as an identifier for “bottomless” and unlimited refills, but this day was so busy they ran out of the bottomless mimosa cups. This is the cup for a single mimosa.
Boudin Dip. Duck cracklin. Seasonal jam. Dijon Mustard.
House-made Drop Biscuits. Devil Ham spread (highly recommended by our waitress)
Charlie’s Gumbo. Chicken. Oyster. Andouille Sausage.
Oyster Salad. Arugula. Frisee. Celery. Chopped Egg. Spiced Pecans. Blackberries. Candied Mustard Seed Vinaigrette.
I understand that Easter brunch is a very busy time, but we had made reservations around 1:30 PM. Our waitress was sweet and made some decent recommendations. I ordered the bottomless mimosa, because who can eat brunch without bottomless mimosas?! Plus, the single mimosa price was $3, but unlimited was $10. It’s worth it! Unfortunately, it was such a busy day that they ran out of the unlimited mimosa cups and there was a ton of confusion when I did not get refills. To start off my meal, I wasn’t too happy with that…
45 painful and “hangry” minutes later, we received our first wave of appetizers: Boudin Dip with Duck Cracklins, Drop biscuits with devil ham spread, and the Gumbo. The boudin dip was interesting. I don’t think I’ve seen that dish anywhere in the city and it had to be my favorite of these 3 dishes. The Drop biscuits were dense and dry, but the Devil Ham spread was pretty good. If only it had a fluffier and more delicious medium to be spread onto. The Gumbo (see pictures) was obviously sitting for quite a while under a heat lamp. There was a layer of soup skin that had formed on top from sitting for so long. I can’t tell if it was the kitchen’s fault or the wait staff’s fault for the delay in food expediting. As for the gumbo itself, I wouldn’t try it again…
30 minutes after our first wave of appetizers, we received the Quail-N-Waffle and Oyster Salad. The Quail was cold and the waffles were soggy from the sauce. Eating any type of poultry dish that comes out cold is always disappointing. The Oyster Salad had to be the highlight of the meal, since you can’t really go wrong with fried oysters and the salad was refreshing, but easily forgotten.
It’s not often that I do poor reviews, but I feel this was worth sharing because the menu at Tivoli & Lee was very attractive but the execution was lacking. At the same time, I don’t know whether or not to blame the wait staff or the kitchen. Although our waitress was nice, she didn’t address the long wait and didn’t update us on our food progress. It was a long and disappointing brunch…Hopefully, Tivoli & Lee can improve on this, because I see potential for a good restaurant, but service issues need to be addressed.