Some things in life are just worth the price. For $46, gastronomes can experience a transcendental state at Lacroix at the Rittenhouse. On the second floor of the Rittenhouse Hotel, Jean Marie Lacroix's formal French masterpiece, now in its third year, provides inspiration in every aspect of the dining experience. The understated elegance and the superb view of Rittenhouse Square strike the perfect mood for any occasion. The service is impeccable, with each patron receiving treatment generally reserved for the English royal family. A live acoustic guitar accompanies you throughout your meal.

That being said, the true attraction is the food. Brunch at Lacroix is served from 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Sundays, although after this feast one will undoubtedly be satisfied for the entire day. Begin with a cold bar that includes quail egg with ratatouille, brochette of garlic sausage, and peppered mackerel among other delights. The extensive artistry of Chef Lacroix is clearly on display in his gorgeously presented hors d'ouevres. Portions are small, which is conducive for sampling a variety of Lacroix's French concoctions.

The undisputed main event takes place when a cordial server guides you to the hot buffet, located in the kitchen. There the boundless choices include carved beef wellington with madeira sauce, roasted baby lamb chops and venison cannelloni. The meats are cooked to perfection, and the sauces leave your palette utterly satisfied. To cap off this feast, Lacroix leaves you in the hands of pastry chef Frederick Ortega. Indulge in the banana cheesecake or chocolate mousse made in Ortega's on site chocolate laboratory.

A cucumber martini ($11) provides the perfect compliment to the richness of Lacroix's cuisine. Non-alcoholic specialty drinks such as the watermelon spritzer also add texture to the dining experience. Although Lacroix alters his dinner menu seasonally, the brunch menu remains constant throughout the year, allowing diners to be awestruck on any given Sunday. Overall, brunch at Lacroix is a pleasure that leaves even the most critical individual in a state of total euphoria.


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