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Monday, March 23, 2015

Sunday Brunch Buffet at 57th Fighter Group Restaurant (Brookhaven)

Toddler Foodie Rating:  4 out of 5 Gummy Bears
:) = Unique European farmhouse bunker theme honoring the 57th Fighter Group aviation heroes of WWII, complete with WWII d├ęcor that small children will find fascinating.  The restaurant is located right next to DeKalb Peachtree Airport, so little ones get to watch planes and helicopters take off while enjoying their food.  AYCE brunch buffet with a wide variety of breakfast and lunch entrees.  $2 champagne and mimosas, and a full bar available after 12:30 PM, for mommies and daddies.  Huge restaurant with multiple spacious dining areas.  Great for large parties.

:( = Their brunch is popular, so the buffet area gets crowded - a parent dining alone with small children may have a difficult time here.  There's no changing table in the restroom, although there is a marble counter that can be used for the same purpose - make sure to bring a changing pad so baby's bottom doesn't get cold.  Also, the size of this place is both a blessing and a curse for parents.  Toddlers will love running away from mommy and daddy here, if given the opportunity.  Bring distractions that will make them want to stay put.       

Notes:  The Sunday Brunch Buffet is $25 for ages 13 and up; $15 for children ages 4-12; and, according to our server, free for children 3 and under.  The buffet is only available from 10:30 AM-2:30 PM.

"Mommy said this is a restaurant.  Looks like a bunker to us."
We visited 57th Fighter Group Restaurant on a chilly, rainy Sunday morning.  Mommy got us really excited when she told us we'd be able to see airplanes and helicopters there and we'd be able to eat all the breakfast food we love - and as much of it as we wanted.  When we walked up to the restaurant, one of her promises was fulfilled.  We were awestruck by the cool airplane standing nobly on the front lawn.

"Do you think they'll notice if I climb in and start her up?"
We walked through a short tunnel with sandbag-covered walls to get to the host stand.  The host then led us through the big restaurant to a room in the back where our tables were waiting for us, already set with waters and silverware.  We were part of a large party, so we took up most of the room.  The room had many big windows that looked out onto the DeKalb Peachtree Airport runway.  Because it was rainy, there wasn't much action happening on the runway, but there were a few helicopters parked with their propellers spinning through the rain.  Fascinating!

"One day, I'll learn how to fly one of those helicopters."
Now the best thing about buffets is that you don't have to wait to eat.  And that's exactly how it went down at 57th.  Mommy had some backup with her, so she tried to leave us with them while she went to the buffet to get our food - but we weren't having that.  So she took us to the buffet area.  Big mistake.  The restaurant was already pretty crowded by that time (it was around 11:45), and we got into everyone's way as Mommy tried to keep us close to her and away from the hot chafing dishes.  She made a mental note to never bring us here alone, no matter how much she was craving a brunch buffet.

57th's buffet is extensive.  It has multiple stations offering hot lunch entrees (such as baked fish and pasta); hot breakfast entrees (such as cheese grits, sausage, bacon, and a delicious salmon frittata that we gobbled up); a variety of fresh bagels and fruit; a selection of cured meats and cheeses; a carving station featuring prime rib and ham; various salads and soups (including the restaurant's famous "Beer and Cheese" soup); seafood dishes (such as shrimp cocktail and smoked salmon); an array of desserts (puddings, eclairs, cakes, cookies, etc.); and a fresh waffle station featuring several different toppings.  Mommy's favorite waffle topping was bananas foster - she'll take any opportunity to sneak adult beverages into her meal when she's out with us.)

"I think I'll start with this shrimp.  It looks ready to be eaten."
"The waffles we make at home never taste this good!"
The second best thing about buffets is that you can get as much food as your little tummy can eat.  We must say, we did a pretty good job at 57th.  We liked the breakfast food best, especially the waffles.  Sometimes waffles lack flavor and have to be coated in syrup or other toppings if the batter isn't sweetened properly.  But these waffles were outstanding - we had no problem eating them without toppings (although we did steal a few bites of bananas foster from Mommy).  We were also fans of the smoked salmon and shrimp.  The smoked salmon was very fresh and cut into sizeable portions; and the shrimp was seasoned just enough that we could enjoy eating it plain.  We also really loved the offering of fresh fruit - it made Mommy feel a little better about eating all we could.

While we loved nearly everything available at the buffet, one item really stood out to us Toddler Foodies:  at the waffle station, one of the toppings offered was... Gummy Bears!  Think they knew we were coming?

"Shh.  I'm calculating how many of these to give to this restaurant."
Overall, we enjoyed our visit to 57th.  We'll probably come back for a special occasion because this is a really good place for large groups.  Or maybe we'll come back in the summertime to sit on the patio, watch the planes take off, and hope civilization can learn from the past and never fall into worldwide war again. 

Wise younger Toddler Foodie to older Toddler Foodie:  "Soldiers ate lots of canned, non-perishable food during World War II.  Fresh fruits like this grape were not readily available.  Peacetime is better than wartime, don't you think?"

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