Almost weekly, I am cursed with the threatening feeling of brunch FOMO (Fear of Missing Out – I didn’t know what this meant until like a month ago.) For those of you lucky enough to escape the suffocating allure of weekend brunch, I envy you. I applaud you! I cannot escape it. Like clockwork, Saturday morning rolls around, and I am unable to sleep in. Up at 7/7:30, my boyfriend still peacefully snoozing beside me, I open Twitter. MISTAKE. I am immediately bombarded with brunch specials, mimosa menus, pictures of egg frittatas and breakfast tacos so beautiful my mouth begins to water. UGHHH. How can I go back to sleep when my mind is now swimming with the possibility of a relaxing Saturday brunch?! The answer is I can’t.
This Saturday, I was lucky enough to have brunch plans at E2 in Highland Park with my boyfriend, Tim, and my best work bud, May. And oh man was it glorious.
I had never been there, so I really didn’t know what to expect. I knew the wait would be long. That’s about it. We arrived around 11 or so, and the wait was 45 mins (insert cringe face here.) E2 does not accept brunch reservations, and their dining room is very small. I have to say, I’ve had my fair share of long-brunch-wait melties. I tend to get a bit – grumpy – when I don’t eat soon enough in the morning. But E2 has a solution to this problem!! Their basement is equip for large parties and events, but on the weekends, you can hang out and drink some coffee. The time flew by and our wait was around half an hour.
I’ll start with the decor and service. Charming and comfortable are the first words that come to mind. The tables are small and mismatched, there are books on shelves and paintings on walls, and the staff is super friendly and laid-back. It’s a bit cramped – but the overall ambiance of the place prevents this from being a real issue.
The menu is written on a chalkboard on the back wall, and I was instantly overwhelmed. EVERYTHING sounded amazing. Their Mediterranean cuisine is self-described as “simple and approachable,” and it really is. Not on their chalkboard, though, is the (drumroll please)… DONUT MENU!!! The title of the menu is “OMG.” At first I was like, what does that mean. But when our orders arrived, I literally couldn’t stop saying OMG as I devoured the mix of savory, salty, sweet, glazy, crunchy, doughy goodness. I could go ON. The donut menu ranges from sweet options such as Lemon Lavender and Chocolate Ganache with Pistachios, to savory options like the Stuffed Zeppollis with Anchovies and Pepperonata Sauce. There were 3 of us, and we ordered the Berry White ($5) (giant round donut “holes” smothered in a fresh berry sauce and topped with powdered sugar) and the Bacon Zeppolli ($6) (bacon filled zeppolli with a sweet maple glaze). I mean, seriously. They were unreal. The perfect consistency. The perfect amount of crunch on the outside, fluffy yet dense on the inside. And there were PLENTY of them. One order would have been perfect for 3 (we each took home 1 donut), but you just HAVE to try more than 1 flavor.
Truly, this was enough to excite and satisfy me for the rest of the weekend. I am not kidding when I say I talked about those donuts for hours after the meal had ended. But alas!! My main entree was still on its way!!
I ordered the Eggplant Caponata ($11). The caponata sauce was a perfectly salted, saucy concoction of eggplants, peppers and tomatoes, and was served atop a large portion of light and fluffy scrambled eggs and a pinch of shaved, nutty parmesan cheese. DE-LECIOUS. The entree (as most of theirs are) is accompanied by a delicious salad of fresh greens, blue cheese (not a blue cheese fan – but it complimented the salad nicely), pecans, and a tangy balsamic, and grilled foccacia toast. It was the perfect savory follow-up to the sweet donuts. Satisfying from beginning to end.
Overall, I really loved this place. I am definitely going back for dinner soon.
Overall Experience: 5
A few nuggets of advice:
- Like I said, very small dining room. This is not a quick brunch stop. But def worth the wait.
- It’s BYOB! Bring some wine for dinner, champs for brunch. (Who doesn’t love BYOB.)
- My 2 dining companions ordered the Salmon Benedict and the Brussell Bacon Hash and were equally satisfied.
- The menu is seasonal and they locally source their fresh ingredients. So don’t be surprised by slight menu tweaks.
- Brunch is cash only!
- Dinner reservations can be made for parties of 6 or more, but no brunch resies.
So, thank you E2. Thank you for serving me a delicious, satisfying Saturday brunch. And relieving me of my greatest FOMO fears.
5904 Bryant Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15206