Eclipse has moved its brunch to the rooftop, probably a good idea, but this past weekend their elevators died so the assembled motorcyclists and Washington University dropping-off parents made do with the space-y dining room of the restaurant, no great hardship.
A fairly simple and reasonably priced ($15 for adults, including non-alcoholic beverages) brunch, but be reminded that this is a fairly serious bar, so when I asked for a Bellini, no one batted an eye. And a large, chilly one it was, too, nicely dry.
The cold table is pretty modest. A beautiful green salad - no bagged lettuce assortment here - sat (untouched, strangely, but it was early) with a Greek pasta salad and a platter of crudites. The pasta salad was unexciting, but there was, among others, what was surely a housemade onion dip with the raw vegetables and it was quite tasty.
On the hot side, the crowning dish is almost certainly biscuits and gravy. Those are words I never thought I'd be saying. I'm not a particular fan of the dish; good biscuits are hard to come by and really flavorful sausage gravies almost as rare - although that should be considerably easier to create. These biscuits are immense and incredibly, crumblingly tender. It's almost impossible to split and butter then without them falling apart. The gravy is smooth, not so thick as some, but seriously well seasoned, and nearly irresistible.
Pay attention to the small, very plump sausage patties. I suspect the sausage, too, is made in-house, and the thickness is smart. They stay moist that way. Good notes of black pepper and perhaps some sage as well. The only egg offering is scrambled; what else can you do on a buffet line that has no omelet station, but it's a cruelty to the hen fruit. Good bacon that suffered from a closed chafing dish.
Lunchness was represented by salmon with pineapple salsa and herb roasted chicken. The salmon, too, had the chafing dish consequences, not that anyone would expect rare salmon on a buffet line. But the pineapple salsa is a good idea, and lifted it above the usual St. Louis brunch fish dish. Chicken is happier in that sort of an environment, and stayed moist, but would have done better with more herbs.
Two kinds of potatoes, hash browns, which were the shreds, and garlic mashed potatoes. Never saw those on a brunch line before, but these were a delight, creamy and flavorful. I yearned for an egg over easy to match up with them.
While the sweets table looks modest, there are some excellent options. Brownie bites are moist, chewy and decadent. And triangle-shaped lemon tarts had excellent shortbread-esque crust and a tart filling, rich enough to give more than the couple of bites their size might call for. The plate of tea breads and sweet rolls also seems to be done in-house, including exquisitely fresh Danish, hurray, and some golf-ball-sized sweet yeast rolls with a drizzle of frosting and a hit of cinnamon. Indulge.
We've got a couple of months where Sunday morning weather can be absolutely glorious; go investigate.
The Moonrise Hotel
6177 Delmar Blvd.
Credit cards: Yes
Wheelchair access: Good
Brunch: $15 (adults)