Updated: Brenner Pass and Chairlift Bring a Taste of the Alpine Region to Scott’s Addition

Metzger’s long-awaited sister restaurant Brenner Pass opened on June 30, 2017, night and I was lucky enough to score an invite to the soft opening. This much anticipated new restaurant in Scott’s addition was named for a mountain path through the Alps and focuses on bringing European food to dear old Richmond, Va.

 

The spacious bar at Brenner Pass is the perfect spot for a pre-dinner drink or nightcap
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The Bar at Brenner Pass

The space itself has a modern, industry-meets-reclaimed wood vibe with white exposed pipes above an elegant retro-inspired, vintage glam bar in the center of the restaurant. Speaking of the restaurant, it’s sprawling, seating over a hundred people, not including the patio and coffee/sandwich shop Chairlift. All together, the space establishment can to serve over 200 people at once, which is pretty big compared to many of the Fan restaurants I’m used to dining in.

 

The No Ticket cocktail at Brenner Pass restaurant in Scott's addtion is a must try for bourbon fans
The No Ticket cocktail is a boozy blend of bourbon, amaro, and Jagermeister

If you want to go for dinner, I suggest making a reservation on Open Table even with the big space, as this is a much-anticipated Richmond restaurant opening and the experience backs up the hype. When we arrived there was a 45-minute wait, so of course we sauntered over to the beautiful bar to select a libation from the impressive cocktail selection. Bourbon lovers will drool over the No Ticket. A twist on a Boulevardier, the combination of Bulleit Rye, Dolin Rouge, Averna, Barenjager and Jagermeister with an orange twist served over a generous hand-cut ice cube was smooth and boozy. I worried Jagermeister would take me back to college, but apparently when used in proper proportions (and not dropped into a Red Bull, shocker), the spirit can be quite tasty. Who knew? Oh yeah, the bartenders at Brenner Pass.

 

Brenner Pass restaurant in Richmond, Virginia, has a warm, modern interior

 

I also sampled the Chiaroscuro, which was a blend of Citadelle Gin, Cocchi Americano, Cardamaro, Cynar, Genever, and mole bitters also served over a hand-cut ice cube with an orange twist. This took a more fresh and herbaceous note on a boozy cocktail with plenty of amaro. Quite tasty.

 

Craft cocktails at Brenner Pass restaurant in Scott's Addition, Richmond, Virginia
The Alpine Slide featuring Aquavit, Amaro Montenegro, lemon and peach alongside the 24 Carrot Gold

Lastly, I loved both the color and flavor of the 24 Carrot Gold, a bright orange shaken number made with Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac, lemon, Gentian Carrot Syrup and chamomile bitters.

Of course there’s also an extensive wine and beer list featuring a specially made house lager from The Veil Brewing Co.

 

The bar at Brenner Pass has an extensive selection of wines, beers and liquors

Dinner at Brenner Pass

The menu starts with seafood spanning several types of caviar, raw oysters and some impressive seafood towers. After seeing a photo of the delicate blinis that are included in the caviar service, this is next on my must-try list.

 

Brenner Pass restaurant features elegant, upscale decor
The tables are topped with succulents, adding a nice hint of green throughout the restaurant

 

Next, snacks feature shareable nibbles like a house bread bowl featuring sourdough made with the leftover mash from the Veil house beer alongside more exotic options like oeufs mayonnaise (boiled eggs drizzled with house-made mayonnaise) that can be topped with caviar or other delicacies based what’s available. From there, the menu moves into cheese and charcuterie (yes!) and on my visit I did, in fact, spy a rather eye-catching cheese cart. Dare I say the first cheese cart I’ve seen in RVA? There’s also one fondue, several small plates, pastas and grains, sides, and large plates.

 

Brenner Pass restaurant in Scott's Addition features an impressive cheese selection
Look at all the glorious cheeses!

 

Brenner Pass might be the only restaurant in Richmond, Virginia to have a cheese cart!
Have you ever seen anything so wonderful?

On my visit to Brenner Pass the first standout dish was the small plate tartare la rue de boeuf, or steak tartare. Tender, hand-cut sirloin was accompanied by uniformly chopped shallots, cornichon and capers so you could mix and match to your preferred level of meatiness, then garnish with dollops of mayonnaise or mustard or drizzle with house-made hot sauce or Worcestershire from eye-dropper bottles. This dish also came with some of the house-made sourdough, which was doughy and divine.

 

Brenner Pass restaurant offers gourmet cheese fondue for four in Scott's Addition
The cheese continues, this time in melted form

 

Of course we also had to sample the fondue. The melty blend of Gruyere and Emmenthaller was appropriately gooey and delicious, but my table loved the blend of dipping accompaniments. A plate was filled with cubes of baguette, tender fingerling potatoes, cornichon, bits of speck and dollops of mustard made for a rustic and distinctive take on traditional fondue fixings.

 

A must-try pasta dish at Brenner Pass restaurant is the PACHERRI BOLOGNESE BIANCO
The Pacherri Bolognese Bianco is rich and indulgent without being too heavy

Next we savored the Pacherri Bolognese Bianco, which was a base of big loops of perfectly cooked pasta topped with a savory blend of smoked pork, trumpet mushrooms, and sage. This dish was hearty and full of rich, homey flavor but still light and balanced, fitting in with the rest of the menu perfectly.

 

Brenner Pass restaurant has an indulgent veal porterhouse on the menu
The veal porterhouse was tender and indulgent

We also sprang for the $45 veal porterhouse to split across the table. You only live once, right? And, if you’re going to spring for standout meat, bad-ass lady butcher and co-owner Brittany Anderson’s house is the place to do it. This cut was worth the special occasion price. Perfectly cooked and lightly topped with oyster mushroom jus, it was a quality cut of meat prepared perfectly with just the right touch of added flavor. I’m not going to get it every time I go. I promise. Maybe just the next time…

In subsequent visits I’ve tried the fondue burger, which I recommend ordering without the jus and mushrooms (which come with an extra fee) so you can better taste the delicious blend of brisket and short rib. Also delicious is the Omble Chevalier, arctic char topped with caviar cream and served with barley and chanterelles, and the steak au poivre.

Desserts at Brenner Pass

Of course, with pastry chef Olivia Wilson as another co-owner, you know there are going to be some impressive options here. My table went for the pull-out-all-the-stops souffle.

 

The Dlucey Souflee at Brenner Pass is made with blonde chocolate
Dulcey Souflee with creme anglaise

There aren’t many places in town to find this impressive dish that takes about 15 minutes to cook to order. Keep this in mind and order early if you are in a hurry. Wilson’s Dulcey Souffle is a made with dulcey chocolate, which is a blond chocolate that tastes rich and buttery, made even more indulgent by the creme anglaise topper.

 

Dulcey soufflee with creme anglaise at Brenner Pass
And that is what a perfectly cooked soufflé looks like

While we waited for the souffle, we also induldged in the Gianduja Tart, which was a silky cake with layers of salted caramel, dark chocolate ganache and hazelnut.

 

The Gianuja Chcolate Tart at Brenner Pass restaurant in Richmond is absolutely stunning
The Gianduja Chocolate Tart is garnished with bits of gold.

Chairlift

Along with the main dining room, the restaurant’s cafe and market called Chairlift also recently opened.

Chairlift is Richmond's newest cafe and market from the owners of Metzger and Brenner Pass

 

The new space has a full coffee bar, a selection of pastries for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, along with cheeses and charcuterie, to-go items in a case, beer, wine, and another spacious dining area that appropriately resembles a retro ski lodge.

 

Chairlift in Scotts Addition offers a full coffee and espresso selection along with artisan teas

 

When I stopped in for breakfast, I was blown away by the pastry selection. I couldn’t resist trying the savory brioche filled with speck and gruyere topped with a sunny-side-up egg.

 

Savory brioche filled with speck and gruyere topped with a sunny-side up egg.

 

I also took a chocolate-fig cookie to-go. If you like chocolate, go get one of these ASAP. They are rich and filled with the right amount of chocolate flavor and the added flavor from the fig adds a sweetness that isn’t too sugary. This is my favorite cookie in Richmond right now.

 

Bostock from Chairlift in Scott's Addition
This is Bostock, a pastry made from day-old brioche topped with almond frangipane for a crunchy, decadent indulgence.

 

Gianuja tarts from Chairlift in Richmond, VA
Gianuja tarts are silky smooth treats that look and taste amazing.

 

I haven’t made it in for lunch yet, but the selection of sandwiches and tartines has Chairlift on my list to visit soon, as does the wine selection both for dining in or when I need to grab a bottle of wine or vermouth on the go!

 

Chairlift also sells wine and beer that can be enjoyed on-site or taken home with you.

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