Review: Paragon

A many splendored brunch
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  May 12, 2011

Paragon-7973_main
SUNNY SAMPLER A variety of goodness from the buffet.

Sunday morning. A time to lean back after a hard week of work and previous day of mowing the lawn or paying bills. It's the time when you can best appreciate stretching out like a Roman sybarite and having grapes popped into your mouth. It's not the time to ask your mate if he or she would like to prepare a sumptuous feast, unless you're willing to face crossed arms and a tapping foot.

No, it's time to go out for brunch.

Paragon | 401.331.6200 | 234 Thayer St, Providence | Mon-Sat, 11 am-Midnight; Sun, 10 am-Midnight | Major Credit Cards | Full Bar | Sidewalk-Level Accessible

Paragon was a place I'd wanted to check out for such an occasion, so napkin under chin and knife and fork in hands (just mentally, don't worry), Paragon it was. Their spread is expansive, and I didn't want to hold back.

A friend and I arrived a little after noon and few tables were free, so take that as a precaution and get there as early as is convenient. After being taken to our seats, we surveyed the serving area to get our bearings. The longest line was to specify the vegetables and meats you'd like in the omelet that would be made for you. Nearby was the prime rib carving station, but there was no accompanying carver working on a baked ham, which was listed in the menu. There was chicken cacciatore and one pasta near that station.

We were brought to our table but not told that there was another room of items; it was left to our own alertness to realize that the winding stretch didn't have all the dishes on the menu. Fortunately, someone at the head of the line mentioned that to us, so we proceeded into the bar area. Both starters and finishers were here, from shrimp cocktail to desserts — from Italian wedding cookies to a cherry crumb cake.

The shrimp were fresh and tasty, and the horseradish in the sauce wasn't overwhelming — I can take it quite peppy, but the authority in this matter was my accompanying friend, whose other recent shrimp cocktail experiences led to mouth-fanning. I also sampled the potato salad, which was prepared my favorite way, the red bliss chunks coated with egg salad. The macaroni salad would have been equally appropriate if heated up, the shells accompanied by pieces of tomato in small chunks of feta.

Leaving our empty plates on our table, we stepped up for some eggs. Those omelets looked wonderful, but I was afraid that choice would fill me too much. An eggs Benedict was a different story, and there were plenty in the hot tray compartment they kept adding to. I usually don't order this, because too often the white is running. The one I chose was perfect, the white shaky but firm, only the yolk liquid. Susan's was nearly as good, the yolk only semi-solidified, but the hollandaise was minimally lemony. The massive amounts of bacon in the next tray were also just right, crisp and patted dry. Fortunately, I took only one of the skinless pork sausages; my one bite tasted oddly metallic.

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