By Andrea Brown Herald Writer
Bottomless mimosas for $15?
Count me in.
That’s one of the brunch deals at LJ’s Bistro and Bar in Lake Stevens.
Our party of three purposely arrived near the end of the 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. brunch in order to miss the lunch crowd, which by then was already out playing on the lake or snoozing off the mimosas on a hot summer afternoon.
The hostess gave us the option to sit on the patio of the bistro located on the frontage road to Safeway and other stores. The patio is foliaged and fenced to block out the noise and view, but not the early afternoon heat. Any other time it would have been great.
The restaurant’s dining room has a cool and relaxing atmosphere with paneled walls, slick black seats and small dark tables with white linens. Dim lighting and a fireplace create an intimate ambience.
By contrast, the bar is bright and polished. There was a ball game on the bar TV, which can be seen from some dining tables for those (like my husband) who want the best of both worlds.
The bottomless mimosa deal was tempting and if I’d sat on the patio would have kicked back a few. Instead I went for the strawberry lemonade ($4). It came in a mason jar with an umbrella stabbing a strawberry and a fresh lemon slice. There were bits of strawberry and lemon in the drink that gave it a tangy yet fruit sweet flavor. It was a lemonade to savor, not slurp.
The brunch menu is breakfasty, but not your basic bacon and eggs. We aren’t very worldly when it comes to gourmet breakfasts or food words ending in vowels. The menu offers a brief description and our attentive server readily answered our questions.
I got out of my plain-egg comfort zone and ordered the chorizo egg scramble ($12) with gouda, corn, red peppers and a delicious dollop of creme fraiche.
My daughter got shakshuka baked eggs with spiced tomato sauce, sofrito, broccoli, feta and focaccia ($12). It arrived bubbling hot, just as the server said it would. The flavorful ingredients blended perfectly into the sauce.
My husband was thrilled with his choice of smoked mushrooms and grilled zucchini ($12) covered with white truffle oil, sitting atop a blanket of melted mozzarella and gouda cheese flatbread. The flatbread crust was crispy and the cheese melted to perfection.
It was the hands-down favorite.
A close second place was the side of hand-cut fries with truffle aioli ($3 or $5). It was one of the few times I didn’t have to have catsup on fries.
The cubed brunch potatoes ($4 side or included with some entrees) tossed in garlic and aleppo pepper were good, but needed catsup.
Other brunch menu items include salads ($9), wild caught pepper prawns ($13) and bacon-gouda-burger ($13, or $14 with a fried egg).
The brunch menu differs from lunch or dinner. A good way to see the menu options and new dishes is LJ’s Bistro Facebook page. Recent photos show a pepper crusted petite tender with bacon cream sauce and a tomato/watermelon salad with creamy feta, basil, mint and pistachio.
The server told us about nightly brew and burger specials, which seemed like a good time if we lived in Lake Stevens. Bottomless mimosas, truffle fries and crunchy flatbread are reason enough for me to make the 15-mile drive on any given Sunday.
LJ’s Bistro and Bar
805 Frontage Road Lake Stevens; 425-334-0604; www.ljsbistroandbar.com
Specialty: Mediterranean inspired cuisine.
Hours: 3 p.m. to midnight Tuesday through Thursday; 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday; and 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday. Closed Monday. Happy Hour from 3 to 6 p.m.
Alcohol: Local and regional beer, wine and spirits. Specialty cocktails.