By Krista Pfunder
I woke up Sunday morning to a text thread among friends asking who wanted to try the new brunch at Baia in Chesapeake Beach—a restaurant I recently reviewed for CBM Bay Weekly. The thread included a picture of the menu, and not long after glancing at it, I found myself sitting at Baia with two girlfriends.
Two of us chose the bottomless mimosa option ($20). We each tried a traditional orange juice mimosa and a blood orange version. While both were good, we’d recommend the blood orange.
We were all hungry so decided to start with a Bakers Board ($10) and Crispy Polenta ($12) for the table. A generous number of lemon ginger scones, pieces of chocolate pecan coffee cake, and mini muffins quickly arrived at our table on a plate. My favorite was the coffee cake topped with streusel and with gooey chocolate on the bottom. Steph and Heather declared the lemon ginger scones the best. Next up was the polenta, which I was anxious to dig into.
Years ago, while living in California, I had an amazing dish featuring soft polenta, grilled chicken, and a spicy marinara sauce. I ordered it at least once a week for lunch (thankfully, the restaurant was close to my office). I’ve been looking for a comparable polenta dish for some time and hold out hope each time I see it appear on a menu. Baia’s version is two pieces of fried polenta with tomato jam, crumbled gorgonzola, pecans, and lardon (a cut of bacon).
It was excellent—the combination of tomato jam and crumbles of gorgonzola was the perfect pairing with the crispy polenta. I asked for the lardons to be served on the side so I didn’t add them to my bites, but my friends did and said they were very tasty.
For my main dish, I chose Eggs Benedict ($16). Two helpings of prosciutto di parma, a poached egg, and prosecco hollandaise on house-made focaccia are served alongside a rocket salad. The eggs were cooked just as I like them for Eggs Benedict—a bit firmer than most chefs seem to make them. The focaccia proved a better choice than the usual English muffin. The sauce was tasty and I found myself hunting for more of it, even though they had provided plenty. Rocket salad consists of arugula, snap peas, orange supremes, beet puree, stracciatella, white balsamic and parmigiano Reggiano. It’s a good accompaniment to the dish.
Steph went with the Steak & Eggs ($22), a petite filet mignon, soft scrambled eggs, crispy Yukon gold potatoes, and salsa verde. Heather chose the Frittata ($12, pictured at top), which came with potato, rapini, smoked mozzarella, and tomato jam and was also accompanied by a rocket salad. Both my friends loved their choices and said they would certainly order them again.
We lingered over coffee as we finished the remaining treats on the Bakers’ Basket plate and came to the agreement that a new fall tradition this year will be weekend brunch at Baia.
Brunch at Baia is on weekends, 10am-3pm. Reservations are encouraged: https://baiacoastal.com/