published Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Side Orders: Plan ahead for Easter brunch

If you, like thousands around the area, will be dining out on Easter, now's the time to make reservations, even though it's 11 days away. It's one of the busiest days of the year, says Adam Roe, executive chef at Broad Street Grille, one of several eateries that will be celebrating Easter Sunday with foods of the spring season.

At Broad Street, to accommodate the high number of expected guests, reservations can be made up until 4 p.m. rather than 2 p.m. which is the norm for Sundays.

"We do fill up quickly, so it is always a good idea to make reservations as soon as possible," he says.

But that goes for all restaurants on Easter Sunday, so be sure to call ahead if you plan on dining out.

Here are several eateries to consider:

• Broad Street Grille, inside the Chattanoogan hotel, 1201 Broad St. The spread for Easter starts with a buffet filled with salad choices, gumbo, egg dishes and several seafood choices such as Cajun "Bloody Mary" peel-and-eat shrimp. There will also be a number of entrees, including braised chicken with artichokes and greens in a Creole tomato sauce, pasta with lamb meatballs and spinach in a creamy sundried tomato sauce and blackened whitefish in tasso-shrimp etouffee sauce. Also available are Coca-Cola-bourbon-and-brown sugar glazed smoked ham, garlic-rosemary crusted roast beef, waffles with whipped sorghum butter and made-to-order omelets. The popular chocolate waterfall will be in place, surrounded by brownies and fruit for dipping. Other sweets -- cheesecakes, bread pudding and more -- will fill the dessert table. And for the children and kid in you, the Easter bunny will be making special appearances throughout the day. Cost: $37 adults, $19 under 12. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Reservations: 424-3700.

• Back Inn Cafe, 412 East Second St. in the Bluff View Art District. The restaurant will expand its menu to include brunch featuring a number of items such as Rembrandt's Roasting Co. rubbed New York strip, Martin House steak, smoked salt and pepper crusted pork tenderloin, grilled salmon Caesar, apple-cinnamon roll French toast, steak and poached lobster Benedict. Entree prices range from $11 to $25. Reservations: 265-5033.

• TerraMae Appalachian Bistro, inside StoneFort Inn, 120 E. 10th St. The inn's restaurant will feature dishes hallmarking the spring season, such as your choice of deviled eggs, fresh asparagus, country ham and grits, baby artichoke soup, ambrosia salad and maple-and-moonshine cured salmon for the first course. Second-course choices are bison oxtails, fresh fried eggs with blueberry/thyme marmalade, seared halibut, veal cheeks with sweet potato succotash, roasted maple-plank branzino (European sea bass) with vegetables and new potatoes, braised lamb shanks with goat cheese grits cakes and stuffed French toast with cream cheese and honey. And for dessert? Coconut cake and buttermilk custard with strawberry-caramel sauce. Cost: $40 adults, $12 under 12. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Reservations: 710-2925.

• The Big Table, 118 Cross St. at the foot of Signal Mountain. Both houses will be open and serving a spring buffet of rosemary-roasted pork loin, egg frittata, shrimp and grits, roasted rib-eye, assorted salads and side dishes and several dessert choices. Cost: $17 adults and $6 under 12. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Reservations: 634-0772.

• Chattanooga Choo Choo, 1400 Market St. You and the Easter bunny can hop aboard the Choo Choo for a buffet featuring antipasto, numerous appetizers and salads, a pasta station with your choice of shrimp scampi, chicken marinara and seafood Alfredo. The carving station will be filled with Steamship Round of Beef, while nearby buffets will overflow with additional entrees and side dishes, as well as Bananas Foster Flambe for dessert. Kids will also have a buffet to call their own. Cost: $28.95 adults, $24.95 seniors 65 and up, $13.95 under 12. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Reservations: 308-2481.


Many folks will be serving fresh asparagus alongside their Easter ham and lamb, and no better time than now since it's one of spring's favorite vegetables. Here's a recipe that was requested by reader John Blanton a couple of weeks ago. "I'm looking for an easy, different way to prepare asparagus," he wrote.

I'm happy to share this one ... it's one of my favorite way to serve it.

Parmesan Asparagus

1 bunch thin asparagus spears, trimmed, with tough stalks removed

3 tablespoons olive oil

1-1/2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon lemon juice (optional)

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Place asparagus into a mixing bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to coat, then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, garlic, salt and pepper. Arrange asparagus on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake until just tender, 12 to 15 minutes, then sprinkle with lemon juice, if desired, just before serving.

Contact Anne Braly at abraly@timesfreepress.com.

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