I’ve never been a big brunch-goer. Some might argue that I’m anti-social, but the big issue is that I don’t like to wait in line for batter-based dishes that I can easily make at home.
So the first thing that makes the new RockCreek restaurant pretty rock solid is the current lack of wait-time for brunch. Quick seating may be due to newness or location or both, but who’s complaining? During a recent Sunday prime hour, my group got a table immediately, and the dining room only got emptier as the brunch hours wore on. This will likely change as the word gets out.
I also recommend RockCreek for the quality of the brunch dishes. Eric Donnelly departed Toulouse Petit to open a restaurant that features global, sustainable seafood. The current dinner menu includes dishes with the likes of razor clams, sand dabs, and sardines. The brunch menu isn’t quite as diverse as I’d like—there are mostly egg dishes on offer, along with oyster stew and shrimp and grits in the “also” section (the other two “also” items are like sides, and could move to starters), and pancakes that seem out of place in the “starter” section. But there are a fair number of seafood dishes that suit the restaurant’s “seafood & spirits” slogan, and I was pleased with the plates I tried.
Root vegetable and beet hash, with poached hen eggs and broken beet vinaigrette (pictured above) was perhaps my favorite dish. It’s an unconventional choice for me, as it doesn’t contain any meat, but the earthy flavors were fine and I enjoyed the beet-flavored vinaigrette that pulled the dish together.
I also enjoyed the Dungeness crab chili relleno with bright tomatillo salsa, cool radish, herb salad, and soft scrambled egg. The relleno has the right level of heat, enough to challenge a chili pepper novice, and there is a decent amount of Dungeness crab. At the highest price point on the brunch menu ($18), the dish was a fulfilling fusion of northwest and southwest.
Also from the seafood department came the bacon and oyster benedict with brioche and fingerling potatoes. The oysters are deep fried and delicious. Bacon adds its fatty goodness, and the brioche soaks up all the creamy Hollandaise sauce.
For dessert, you can’t go wrong with an order of caramelized apple and ricotta beignets with vanilla bean anglaise and caramel. Dusted with powdered sugar, it a perfect plate to share. Then again, this is listed as a starter, so your dilemma might be whether to wait on this for dessert, or to order as a sweet start to your meal.
RockCreek’s location makes for an opportunity to linger longer in Fremont. Across the street is Vif, situated in the former Herfy’s space. The cafe is a bit fishbowl-like with its glass walls, but that means it’s bright and airy inside. Your decision-making here is coffee or wine; depending on the time of day (or your mood), you can enjoy either, or, hey, stay for both. (You can also buy bottled wine to go.) Start with a pour-over from Olympia Coffee Roasting Company, done right in a Kalita Wave cone, or try the house-made chai, with an option of almond milk and a little date sweetener. Then move on to one of the carefully curated wines. Should you still be hungry, there are baked goods, including an apricot rugelach based on a recipe from the baker’s mother.
Rock Creek is open everyday at 4, except for Saturday and Sunday brunch when brunch starts at 9.