Ok, I have to admit, I have been itching to try this place since one of you guys mentioned they have really good fried chicken (I told you, I have a little problem with fried chicken). And because it is known for its Sunday brunch buffet, I always think of it when it’s some sort of brunchy holiday like Easter or Mother’s Day. But on these days, it is nearly impossible to get a reservation. So I decided to just pick a random Sunday, invite the family, and have a nice family brunch on some non-holiday Sunday.
The Garrison is located at Fort Harrison state park in one of the historic buildings. It is a lovely setting and the restaurant overlooks a bit of the golf course. There is a nice deck that had a few tables on it. It was too cold the day we were there, but hopefully they let you sit out there when the weather is warmer.
We made our reservation for 11:00 and at the time, I didn’t realize that is when they open. There were people lined up to get in at 11:00 (without reservations). Slightly annoyingly, they didn’t open at 11:00 promptly, but shortly after. But we had a very large group (16) and they had set up a very nice table with carafes of water, iced tea and lemonade which I thought was a nice touch. They serve other drinks (including mimosas) that you can order from a server.
So the spread here is Midwestern cuisine—a giant buffet of breakfast and lunch items. Breakfast-wise, there were scrambled eggs with cheese, fried potatoes, bacon, sausage, eggs Benedict, French toast and a omelet and waffle making station. Lunch-wise there was fried chicken, fried catfish, pork tenderloin slices, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes and au gratin potatoes, a couple of veggies (think corn and green beans), and cherry cobbler as well as a carving station with ham, roast beef, and a whole salmon. There was also a case with warm bread items (biscuits, dinner rolls, etc).
Separately, there was a full fruit and salad bar, and a large table full of various desserts (mainly cakes and pies), and my kids’ favorite part—a little kids cart (at their level) with chicken strips, pizza, more of the mac and cheese, and cookies. They just liked the idea of being able to “help themselves” (sort of) even though I think several of the adult items were the things they actually ate.
So I tried several things, and I will say, I did enjoy the fried chicken. It was especially good when you got it right when they brought it out and it was steaming hot. The dark meat and wings were the best I think because they were slightly moister (although even the breasts weren’t bad). There was nice seasoning on the crust giving it a nice flavor. The catfish was not bad (a few too many bones in my piece). I also enjoyed the eggs Benedict—I was surprised at how runny the yolks still were considering it was a buffet. The flavor was nice, although they were a tad dry (not quite enough Hollandaise). The mashed potatoes were quite creamy and had a bit of cheese, and the mac and cheese wasn’t bad either. The carved roast beef was far too done for me, but the jus served alongside had a nice, purely meaty flavor. The salmon, while fully cooked through, was still quite moist since it was the whole fish. Several people at the table really enjoyed it.
I found the desserts sort of blah, even though the spread looked very impressive. But there were a lot of the same cheesecake with slightly different toppings and a lot of cream pies. I tried several, and none of them really stood out to me. The kids certainly enjoyed them though, even though I was a little nervous about my son with the nut allergy as there were quite a few things that were obviously peanut/nut oriented on the table (and I am pretty sure some of the cookies on the kids cart were peanut butter which was a little scary) But he stuck with chocolate cake and was fine.
All in all, we had a nice meal and my teenage/20 something nephews certainly got their money’s worth! And it is nice to be able to have a big family gathering and people can just get what they want when they want. The food was all a little better than what I expected, but not so good that I crave any one thing. But I am sure at some point we will go back—and maybe a hike through Fort Ben after.
6002 North Post Road