Bloody Mary's And Spicy Sushi
by The BaldOne
In a town full of breakfast options a Sunday Brunch can be a difficult road for a restaurant to travel. A liquor license can tilt the field to favor one place over another. If the brunch is to truly succeed however, a Salem restaurant must really separate itself from the competition.
Opus has been offering brunch for some time now and we recently decided that the time had come to formally give their offerings try. The Digest's recruited it's good friend the lovely and vivacious Marilyn to assist us. Marilyn is no slouch. She brings with her almost twenty years experience serving tables and tending bars in many a north shore and Boston establishment.
Both of us had been to Opus before but Marilyn had never experienced the brunch. My past brunch visits had been positive although I had not been impressed by the Bloody Mary's. At the time according to the bar tenders that there was no "house" concoction, they were left to create their own which led to some inconsistency and disappointment.
The menu is expansive and includes regular breakfast items, salads, and a nice selection of sushi. The drink menu is creative and takes advantage of the current trend of infusing whiskies and vodka in house.
While perusing the food menu we both ordered Custom Bloody Mary's made with the House Infused Jalapeño Lemon Zest and the Black Pepper Vodka. The drinks were a little darker red than expected, quite zesty, and featured whole peppercorns. I found it to be quite tasty once I discarded the cocktail straw and drank straight from the glass. The peppercorns made using the straw rather difficult. Marilyn was not enamored of hers and I had to step up to finish it for her.
We selected four items to order so as to hit a cross section of the offerings. The Knife & Fork Caesar Salad, The Mezza Platter, plus the Spicy Salmon Roll, and the Firecracker with salmon from the sushi list.
The salad consisted of whole baby romaine hearts with a parmesan crumble crostini, and a creamy caesar dressing. The romaine was fresh and crispy and we found the crostini to be excellent. The dressing was somewhat bland, but that may have been the result of there just not being enough. An extra drizzle or two would have been nice.
On to the Mezza Platter consisting of house cured olives, spicy green chili feta, lemon garlic hummus, and a warm romesco sauce with crispy pita chips. The olives were cured well and quite tasty. If my olive knowledge is accurate there were green, brown, and black olives in the mix. We both agreed that the warm romesco sauce was the highlight of the plate. The feta and the hummus were good but did not stand out. The the romesco prevailed. We were a little disappointed to discover that the "crispy" pita was not crispy at all, just cut fresh and put on the platter.
The sushi was plated well, but without any real flair. Our Firecracker came with scallion, tempura flakes, and Vietnamese chili sauce. The spicy salmon roll came with cucumber. We wasted none of it and overall gave the sushi a positive result. Considering that there are now three places for sushi on Washington Street, and a couple of other good places over the bridge in Beverly and up the road in Peabody, creativity may rule. I see a sushi showdown in the Digest's near future.
Opus fed us well for just about $80. The decor is unique for Salem and the brunch was satisfactory overall.
That's how Marilyn and I feel, but it is up to you to make up your own mind. Drop in to Opus on a Sunday soon even if just to try the Bruleed Grapefruit and let us know what you think.