Toasted Oak (Novi, MI)

The morning after Carol’s sister Cathie’s wedding, she and her new husband George wanted to meet up for breakfast someplace in the Northwest Detroit metro area. Looking around at some of the options, one place that grabbed my eye was Toasted Oak in Novi, MI. A relative newcomer to the local scene, Toasted Oak opened in 2010. It’s one of the places that’s easily overlooked, since it’s actually part of the Renaissance Hotel in Novi, in the outer loop of the Twelve Oak’s Mall. Really, it’s in the sort of location that I usually pass over (I’ve had a lot of dismal brunches in hotels by malls, to be honest), but the place had a lot of good buzz, so I decided to give it a try. Especially since that positive buzz talked about their housemade sausages. That’s enough to get me interested in general, and knowing that Toasted Oak’s chef, Stephen Grostic, is a graduate of nearby Schoolcraft College was enough to make me try it out, since while you’ve probably never heard of Schoolcraft (Carol has, she went there for a year…), it has a well-regarded Charcuterie program, with one Michael Ruhlman on the faculty. Yum.

Well, while it’s obvious that the dinner menu is where Toasted Oak really shines, they’ve got quite a good brunch menu as well, with omelettes, lemon ricotta pancakes, brioche French toast, house-made corned beef hash…. and the Hamtramck Benedict. The last of these caught my eye: poached eggs and Hollandaise on housemade kielbasa and sourdough. While the corned beef hash was calling my name, I had to give the Hamtramck Benedict a try.

And I’m glad I did. While a lot of “novelty” Benedicts can be questionable, this variant of the classic carried it off well. The housemade kielbasa was just about perfect, a nice, garlicky sausage, with a coarse grind, that had really nice smoky pork notes. It was definitely up to the hype. Combining that with perfectly poached eggs, a Hollandaise that was also nicely done and tangy, and some nicely toasted little slabs of sourdough, and this pretty found it’s way onto my top 10 Benedict list (which means at some point I’ll actually have to update said list).

While somewhat pricey, this was a solidly good brunch, served up in a pleasant (but well hidden) restaurant with a very friendly and attentive staff. I’ll have to check them out for dinner some time, I’m sure the charcuterie plate is excellent.

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