Brunch at Novo in San Luis Obispo can be an adventure and not just because you enjoy the flora and fauna of the babbling brook below the romantic outdoor patio. Yes the outdoor scenery is relaxing, but the food and service is wildly uneven.
Nothing says "hello Sunday morning" like a Bloody Mary and Novo's signature sounds amazing with bacon-infused vodka and a promised skewer of lemon, pearl onion, bacon and a blue cheese stuffed olive. But then the drink arrives and has none of those elements. The waitress was perfectly nice and accommodating, comping that mistake and bringing a fresh one with the proper ingredients intact and, yes, bacon always does make everything better. Even drinks.
Then my wife orders the shrimp, avocado and goat cheese scramble and is delivered...the andouille sausage and red pepper scramble. Even the runner announces the shrimp dish as he sets the quite obvious sausage dish in front of us. His obliviousness is comical. College town...Sunday morning...hungover...I get it.
What I don't get is the poor excuse for huevos rancheros. Two soggy tortillas smothered with black beans and tomatillo salsa with what's described as two fried eggs but are runnier than a Kenyan expat at a marathon. At over $12, this plate would barely suffice as an appetizer.
When the shrimp scramble does arrive it's not bad. Crunchy shrimp with creamy goat cheese makes a nice compliment to the sweet avocado. The breakfast potatoes are flaccid and the whole grain bread is over toasted to cinder block consistency.
The appetizer spring rolls with mint and baby shrimp is refreshing but pales next to authentic Vietnamese rolls you can get at most SoCal ethnic eateries. And the fact you have to ask for Sirracha sauce makes the dish just seem lazy.
If you’re in the mood to relax with form over substance, Novo is the place to go on Sunday in the Central Californian Coast. But if good service and tasty food are valued, drive on.