Brunch At Russell House Tavern

It was a bit chilly yesterday, but the sun was shining, making it the perfect day to meet friends for some cocktails and brunch down in Harvard Square. Alicia, a former Boston food blogger who now lives in Connecticut, was in the city for the weekend and looking for a tasty brunch and a good Bloody Mary. After checking a few menus, I suggested we head to Russell House Tavern, and she agreed. We thought it would just be the two of us, but Michelle got back into town earlier on Friday than she had expected from a work trip to Martha's Vineyard and had plenty of time to join us for a leisurely Saturday afternoon brunch.

Alicia picked me up in Inman Square, and we drove down to Harvard Square, parking at the Charles Square Garage (which let me tell you charges way too much for parking. We had a coupon for 2 hours at $8, but because we were there 2 hours and 11 minutes, parking cost $18. Are you kidding?!).

We strolled down Brattle Street, crossed to Jfk Street, and entered Russell House Tavern through the door in the courtyard. I'd never been in this way before. When we walked in, the host greeted us and directed us to head downstairs, where we found Michelle happily waiting for us at the bar, sipping a Champagne Squishee (a drink I will be trying on a return visit).

We checked in with the hostess downstairs, who showed us to a corner table just perfect for three people. Our waitress, who was incredibly pleasant and welcoming, came to take our drink orders. Russell House has an interesting Bloody Mary menu with five to choose from (in addition to a variety of champagne drinks).

Somehow, without coordinating at all, we each ordered a different one. Alicia went straight in for the Piggly Wiggly (bacon-infused bourbon, RHT Bloody Mary mix, crispy bacon); Michelle, who likes her spice, got the Mezcal Mary (Serrano pepper-infused Minero Mezcal, RHT Bloody Mix, pineapple); and I tried the Maria Basilico (basil-infused Sobieski Vodka, Meletti Amaro, RHT Bloody Mix, cucumber) -- the basil piqued my interest. We were all very happy with our choices. Mine had a nice hint of spice but nothing too strong to make the drink unpleasant for me.

After sipping and chatting for a bit, we placed our breakfast orders. Michelle got the breakfast pizza, Alicia ordered the Benedict, and I decided on the E.B.L.T. on a croissant. Our waitress asked how I would like my eggs, and I said over easy. She mentioned that usually she suggests people get over medium so they don't end up wearing the eggs, but I maintained that I would like over easy. I am all about the runny yolk.

Unfortunately, my eggs came over hard. I was so disappointed.

But the breakfast sandwich itself was wonderful, yolks aside. The croissant was buttery and flaky, as a good croissant should be. And the crispy bacon, tomatoes, and Vermont cheddar were flavorful and welcome additions.

E.B.L.T on a Croissant
2 Eggs over easy, Vermont Cheddar, Boston Lettuce, Sliced Tomato, Crispy Bacon, Mayo, Hash Browns

Alicia enjoyed her eggs Benedict, with perfectly cooked, runny poached eggs.

The Benedict
Garlic Spinach & Breakfast Sausage, Creamy Hollandaise, Hash Browns

And Michelle made it through half of her pizza, which Alicia and I both tasted a little of. I may have to order that the next time I go. The yolks were runny -- we could even see them wobble as our waitress set down the pizza -- and the cheese and creamy spinach on top were decadent and salty additions to a crisp, buttery crust.

Breakfast Pizza
Creamy Spinach, Smokey Bacon, Baked Eggs

The lower level of Russell House Tavern is cozy but bustling. It's quiet enough to hear each other talk but not so quiet that you forget you're in a restaurant surrounded by other people. Our service was amazing. Our waitress was sweet, helpful, and friendly. I'd definitely go back again for brunch and cocktails any weekend.

Have you ever been to Russell House Tavern? Do you like Bloody Marys?