UPDATE 2/23/13: Current prices for the Sunday Brunch buffet are $20.95/adult; $8.95/kids ages 3-10; kids under 3 eat FREE.
I’m a big believer in the ‘everything in moderation’ philosophy. However, every once in a while we all need to subscribe to the Mae West school of thought: “Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.” 🙂
Well, that was definitely what I was hoping when my crew and I set out several Sundays ago to sample the famous buffet brunch at Dakota in Rocky Hill.
I have to admit, when I saw that Dakota was selected by Hartford Magazine as “Best Brunch,” and even when several readers mentioned that we should check out this brunch for the blog, I kept thinking: They must be confused; Dakota for Sunday brunch? Isn’t that a steak house? I mean, c’mon, it looks like a giant log cabin. Brunch???
Well, I discovered, not only do they have a Sunday brunch, but this brunch is SO popular, that their website recommends advance reservations. So, I dutifully called on a Thursday and made a reservation for the upcoming Sunday.
Dakota is located right off of Silas Deane Highway, just behind another one of my favorite tiny dining spots, On The Border. There’s plenty of parking in this large lot, but it does fill up fast.
On your way in, you’ll notice the lovely patio. There was a sign outside saying that it was open for lunch and dinner, but I think that must include Sunday brunch too because we saw several patrons enjoying their meal outside.
Given the outside look of the building, I guess I should not have been surprised by the indoor decor.
(That bear on the right was actually on the wall above our table; Boo was a little wary at first.)
The inside of this restaurant is very open, which makes it great for large parties. It also has several different “rooms,” which makes it especially perfect for large parties with little kids who need to be corralled in one spot 🙂
As I mentioned above, the website recommends making a reservation for Sunday brunch. I did chat with the hostess for a bit to get the inside scoop, and she told me that plenty of people do show up on a regular Sunday without reservations, and that a reservation is only really necessary on holiday weekends or Sunday holidays like Mother’s Day/Father’s Day. Since patience is not usually one of my virtues, I always like to make reservations whenever possible anyway, so I was just happy that they took them for such a small party.
We got there right at 10:00, and there were plenty of open tables. However, if you do have to wait for a table, there is a nice, comfy waiting area.
Here’s our table, all set up with a high chair.
Dakota has a buffet brunch, and it is a ginormous spread. At $20.95 per person, it’s not exactly a bargain meal, but kids under 3 do eat free (and kids 3-10 are $9.95 each). The price of the meal does include a beverage (juice, soda, milk, coffee, and tea), and we actually got Boo’s milk for no charge too. So, when you consider that we had to pay for Boo’s meal plus our coffees at our Cheesecake Factory Sunday Brunch, the total amount spent is actually about the same. Plus, there’s just something about a buffet that makes me giddy. Maybe it’s the idea that I don’t have to choose. I can have it all!
Up front, there’s the waffle bar (Boo’s favorite) with fruit, whipped cream, and assorted other toppings..
Around the corner from the omelet station, there’s bacon, sausage, eggs, and home fries.
On the other side of the omelet line there are bread, cheese, and cold cut platters.
Through this hallway there’s a carving station and a full salad bar that includes a fruit spread. Sorry, I couldn’t get any pictures of either one because I was already balancing two plates full of food 🙂
And then, THEN, there is dessert.
Here’s a snapshot of my dining decisions. So much for moderation!
Oh, and this too…
Yup. That was all mine. I’m not proud of it, but it sure was yummy!
The great thing about a buffet with a small child is that you can usually find something that even the pickiest eaters (i.e. Boo) will enjoy.
Alternatively, if you have a wee one who loves to try new things, it’s a way to let them sample all kinds of goodies in perfect portion sizes.
The problem with a buffet-style meal, is that it can be a little tricky to manage with a wee one if you actually want to have a conversation with the person with whom you are dining. Turns out hubby and I never actually got to eat together because one of us was always standing in line at the buffet while the other was back at the table with Boo. Not to mention that Boo’s patience was wearing thin after an hour, long before hubby and I had even glanced at the dessert spread.
But with a little strategy, I think we will do much better next time. Here are my suggestions:
1. Resist the urge to survey and sample everything all at once. It’s fun, but it takes away from your together time. If you put a few things on your plate quickly, and then your dining partner does the same, the two of you can actually eat together. Just repeat as many times as necessary 🙂
2. Place a double order. The omelet line took the most time by far (10+ minutes for me). If you and your dining partner both want omelets, have one person go up and order omelets for both of you. That way, you both get your eggs at the same time (and one person isn’t stuck in line while the other one polishes off their first course).
3. Plan ahead. A little one is not going to sit still for two hours while you leisurely sample every item. Make sure you get the stuff you really want on an early trip up to the buffet, even if you save it for later in the meal (like sweets). It will save precious time when the pre-meltdown begins.
Now I know why people rave about Dakota’s Sunday Brunch. It may not be the most gourmet meal you’ll ever have, but what it lacks in culinary prowess it more than makes up for with a dizzying array of choices accompanied by a sense of wild abandon. I don’t think my waistline would appreciate a weekly visit, but on occasion, we will definitely be back. After all, isn’t indulgence in moderation still moderation? 🙂
Have you been to Dakota’s Sunday Brunch?
Dakota of Rocky Hill
1489 Silas Deane Highway
Rocky Hill, Connecticut
Phone: (860) 257-7752
Get directions here:
Sunday Brunch: 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
See website for complete schedule of business hours.
Sunday Brunch: $20.95/adult; $9.95/child (ages 3-10); Children under 3 eat FREE
Tips & Things to Bring:
- The price per person includes a choice of beverage (juice, milk, soda, coffee, tea).
- When we were there, they were also offering Mimosas and Bloody Marys for an additional $3 each.
- Reservations are recommended, especially on holiday weekends or holiday Sundays (i.e. Mother’s Day/Father’s Day).
- There is no limit to how long you can stay or how many times you can return to the buffet. HOWEVER, it is generally (and unofficially) accepted that there are two seatings for brunch: 10:00-ish & 12:00-ish. So if you come in at 10:00, the servers will likely expect you to relinquish your table by noon so they can seat another party. I mean really, who can eat for 4 hours anyway?
- Tell your server if it’s your first time there for brunch. He or she will give you a brief rundown of everything that’s available and where to find it so you don’t miss out on anything.
- Although it might seem like a faster approach, factor in the waiting in line and all the trips up and back, and a buffet meal can take longer than a served meal. Bring some extra items to amuse the little one(s).
- This is a great place to meet a large group, especially with children. There are lots of tables that can be easily pushed together and can accommodate multiple high chairs. Plus, you know everyone will find something that they like to eat. Don’t forget to make a reservation though!
- Check out the shaded patio for dining al fresco.
- There is a spacious restroom equipped with a wall-mounted changing station.
- Click here to see a list of buffet items.
- Check out their Facebook page for more gorgeous pictures of the Sunday spread and information about daily specials and more.
- See reader comments below for MORE great tips and deals.
Time is running out! Don’t forget to enter our GIVEAWAY for a $25 Price Chopper Gift Card!
Next week, Mandy’s got another great place to cool off with the wee ones, and I’ve got a new PYO adventure.
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