Breakfast at Brennan's Restaurant in New Orleans is the quintessential French Quarter dining experience.
Housed in a historic pink mansion dating back to 1795, Brennan's Creole restaurant offers diners a private patio with sumptuous food, friendly service, and seven decades of tradition.
In 1946, Owen Brennan, an Irish-American, opened the Vieux Carré Restaurant across from The Old Absinthe House on Bourbon Street.
In its original location, breakfast, the day's first meal, was emphasized, and Bananas Foster was invented.
Ten years later, after Owen's passing, his sister Ella Brennan moved the restaurant to its current location on Royal Street and renamed it Brennan's.
The Brennan family continues to be involved in operating the restaurant, specifically Ralph Brennan, along with co-owner Terry White.
My parents introduced my brother and me to breakfast at Brennan's restaurant during my first trip to New Orleans in 2017.
The breakfast menu is full of elegant offerings. Appetizers include gulf oysters with smoked chili butter, shrimp quenelles, crab and avocado toast, and Irish oats.
Adventurous eaters may want to try turtle soup with turtle meat, brown butter spinach, egg, and sherry.
But it's the eggs that are the star of breakfast at Brennan's, and there's no shortage of luxurious options to choose from, including:
- Eggs Hussarde, a Brennan's original, with coffee cured Canadian bacon, and hollandaise sauce
- Omelette a la Creole with Louisiana shrimp
- Eggs Sardou (an Antoine's original) with crispy artichokes and parmesan creamed spinach
- Eggs St. Charles Royale with fried gulf fish, spinach, and blood orange hollandaise
- Eggs Benedict with housemade English muffins and coffee-cured Canadian bacon
If indulging in eggs seems too light an affair, there's a list of entrees to consider, from ricotta pancakes to duck andouille and Creole-spiced beef tenderloin.
And don't forget dessert, including Brennan's famous Bananas Foster, baked Alaska, and pumpkin bread pudding.
Caribbean Milk Punch
I began my breakfast experience by ordering a Caribbean milk punch with Mt. Gay "Black Barrel" Rum, Buffalo Trace Bourbon, heavy cream, vanilla bean, and nutmeg.
The milk punch was rich and creamy, a sweet start to what quickly became a memorable meal.
While it's no longer on the menu, at the time, I ordered scrambled eggs prepared tableside for my first breakfast at Brennan's.
Three duck eggs were cracked and gently scrambled in a pan with creme fraiche and chives.
Before serving, Perigord black truffles were shaved on top for a touch of luxury. The eggs were served with slices of buttery brioche.
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For dessert, we shared an order of Bananas Foster, prepared tableside.
The dish is named Richard Foster, a friend of Owen Brennan, who was chairman of the New Orleans Crime Commission when it was developed in 1951.
Bananas Foster is made by combining butter, sugar, cinnamon, and banana liqueur in a pan.
Add peeled, sliced bananas. As they begin to soften, add rum, which you then ignite from the flame of a gas stove (or a lighter, if you're working on an electric range).
Stir the sauce until the flame goes out, signaling the alcohol has burned off.
Place the bananas atop vanilla ice cream and drizzle with the pan sauce. Boozy bananas drenched in caramel sauce and scooped up with vanilla ice cream are as good as dessert gets.
Over a weekend full of incredible meals with my family, breakfast at Brennan's, a New Orleans institution, was my favorite.
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A Return Visit
In March 2022, my girlfriend Kel and I got a table in The Roost Bar for breakfast without a reservation, my first time as a walk-in.
I took the opportunity to order Brennan's signature Eggs Hussarde with a side of Brabant potatoes and New Orleans-style coffee (a blend of chicory and dark roast).
We shared the playful Grasshopper dessert with Madagascar chocolate, Branca Menta marshmallow, and chocolate mint ice cream.
Now that I've had the chance to eat in the courtyard and bar area, I'd like my next meal to be in one of the beautifully decorated dining rooms.
Plan Your Brennan's Breakfast
Address: 417 Royal Street, French Quarter, New Orleans, LA
Hours: 9 a.m. - 2 p.m., Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday; 6 p.m. - 10 p.m. for dinner nightly
Dress Code: Dressy casual -- no tank tops, cut-offs, or athletic shorts
Reservations: For the best experience, make reservations up to 30 days in advance for breakfast at Brennan's.
Signature Dishes: Bananas Foster, Eggs Hussarde, Bloody Bull cocktail (a housemade Bloody Mary mix with beef bouillon and vodka)
Cost: Appetizers $10 to $16, eggs $18 to $27, mains $16 to $38, dessert $10 to $15