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Sunday Brunch Buffet at Alto Plaza

Take a break from the chains at this Centreville brunch buffet.

 

When I can’t bear to cook breakfast on a Sunday -- especially when we have guests visiting -- I always wish we had more nice brunch options in the Western suburbs. After seeing the Sunday Brunch banner towering over Lee Highway for the umpteenth time, I decided to try in Centreville.

As I like to do with buffets, we arrived right at opening time, 10 a.m. sharp, and waited in the lobby for several minutes until the staff was ready to seat us.  My dining party included two small children, and we were offered a corner table where we could place the high chairs away from traffic. The third floor yielded a view of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which we enjoyed as we sipped our coffee while the girls got settled. The restaurant does offer a full bar and our waiter announced their special brunch cocktails upon greeting us.

At the buffet ($21.95), I found several typical dishes like bacon, sausage, potatoes and waffles. Other items had a Latin flare: flavorful huevos rancheros that managed to keep a runny center despite its residence in a chafing dish, a bland Paella and a rubbery ceviche. There was also rice and beans, pasta and fried plantains. In addition to the self-serve options, the buffet offered a carving station, omelet station and a fajita station, from which I am still salivating for the deliciously flavorful and tender steak wrapped in a soft flour tortilla. There was only one line for the self-serve food, and it often got backed up.

The dessert table offered a chocolate fountain where one could dip strawberries and marshmallows, as well as tempting bite-sized nibbles of chocolate cake, cheesecake and fresh fruit.

Brunch is family friendly and even has a separate balloon-adorned, low-set table with child-friendly food, like pigs-in-a-blanket. This is especially sweet since kids under 6 eat free. Children ages 7 - 10 are half price ($10.98).

Service was pleasant, and since we were plating our own food, this largely included promptly clearing dishes and filling the coffee, and an appropriate amount of “checking in” from our friendly waiter.

While some items on the line were far from stellar, there were several redeeming dishes, and I appreciated having a non-chain breakfast with a view in the suburbs.

Ambiance: Unusually opulent for the intersection of Lee Hwy and Route 28, this behemoth of a restaurant offers modern interiors and views of the Blue Ridge from the 3rd floor.

Patrons: The brunch is family-friendly, and kids do eat free, but it was not overrun by little ones. Diners were found to be dressed casual and smart-causal.

Hours: Brunch is served from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

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