A hotel brunch at a downtown hot spot is obviously going to be better than some juice dispensers and a waffle machine, but often the fare sticks to a tried-and-true menu without much creativity. IPO serves up not only a mean brunch, but functions as a very respectable power lunch, dinner, and bar destination.
A decadent start to the day can be had with items like the banana French toast with coconut and hazelnuts ($13) or a surf and turf benedict (braised pork belly, rock shrimp in rosemary aioli, $15). Or smaller items are available if you just want to keep it simple – an order of ham, two eggs any style, or fresh fruit can be had for $5 apiece.
The lunchtime “mingle” menu features small plates like garlic gorgonzola and cheese bread ($9) or a mini osso bucco (with black garlic, carrot, pea tendrils and fingerling braising au jus ($12). Sandwiches range from a $13 open-face sesame-crusted tofu sandwich to a $16 braised beef short rib sandwich with truffle tomatoes, smoked mozzarella (each comes with truffle fries).
Dinner offers some exotic starters like the grilled melon block (Peekytoe crab, granola, orange, granny smith apple, watercress, passion fruit, sweet sour & spicy sauce, $16) and main courses like a sauteed red snapper with spicy peaches, hearts of palm, fennel, cilantro and cucumber in sweet lime vinaigrette ($24). If you’d rather just have some drinks and satisfy your sweet tooth, the desserts include beignets, a selection of sorbets, and the standout chocolate and popcorn ($9): blood orange, cilantro, brown butter, corn sorbet, and topped with fleur de sel.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Dan Morgridge