Fasulo was celebrating his first year in business, and what a year it was—open barely three months, then having to close due to the pandemic. After negotiating the ups and downs of reopening, closing, and opening for patio dining, patrons are finally able to once again dine inside Old Brea Chop House.
“We had a beautiful ambiance on the patio, but there’s no replacing indoor dining experience with the ambiance and the personality,” Fasulo told me when I finally got to experience his brunch menu last month.
“We launched brunch last year on Father’s Day, but then got interrupted by all the shutdowns,” Fasulo said. “People have been craving a steakhouse brunch that elevates the experience with classic items.”
When I heard that brunch was back, I knew I had to try the lobster grilled cheese with Havarti and cheddar, accompanied by tomato soup. That was Comfort Food 101, but Fasulo had more in store for me.
First came the lemon ricotta fritters with strawberry rose jam. They reminded me of New Orleans-style beignets, but taken to a new level.
Next, Fasulo insisted I sample the deviled eggs, which are a house specialty. Options are traditional, Scottish smoked salmon with capers, or parmesan truffle. You can also get a combo of all three, which is what I did.
Again, this is taking a classic dish and elevating it beyond expectations. The tastes and textures made me close my eyes to savor each bite.
Before my lobster grilled cheese arrived, Fasulo had me try a slab of bacon, which he said was “house-cured and out of this world. We take pork belly, smoke it and cure it. We finish it on the grill, lace it with bourbon and maple reduction. It takes bacon to the next level.”
He was right.
I completed my brunch experience with the fabled lobster grilled cheese. It’s a hearty portion, made more perfect with the tomato soup for dunking.
As I ate, Fasulo talked about the joy of welcoming diners back inside his restaurant.
“In downtown Brea, I’d rather be in here, enjoying Frank Sinatra music. The ambiance transports you do a different place. You come in here and it’s a riff on a classic east coast steakhouse. Here, you can forget about things. Our hospitality takes it to the next level.”
So does the cuisine.
Old Brea Chop House: 180 S. Brea Blvd., Brea, (714) 592-3122, oldbreachophouse.com