Aside from the baskets, brunch is one of my favorite Easter traditions. Brunch is probably one of my favorite life traditions, but Easter brunch feels particularly special. It’s an opportunity to break out your grandmother’s china or wear your most flowery dress. For guys, it’s a chance to wear your baby blue blazer or that light pink button down your girlfriend gave you (the one you pretend to begrudge but secretly cherish).
Easter sets the bar high on style, so you can be sure to expect some pretty spectacular table settings. So spectacular in fact, that the idea of setting your own Easter brunch table may sound a bit intimidating. Personally, I wouldn’t even know where to begin, so I turned to a pro for a little help. Namely, Claire Heymann, owner of Hotel St. Germain.
The lovely white boutique hotel has perfected the art of the special occasion. With crystal glassware, knife rests, Oysters Rockefeller to die for, and personal thank-you cards for every diner, Hotel St. Germain played host to the most memorable Easter brunch I’ve ever attended. I asked Heymann to give us a few tips for emulating the hotel’s charming style.
How would you classify Hotel St. Germain’s style?
19th Century French Belle Époque. It was decadent period all about high design.
Tell us more about the design of the hotel’s table settings.
If we have a formula, it’s mixing ancient aged patina pieces that are rough against high polished, luxury surfaces. Beyond that, it’s a color palette that is very Old World European. For last year’s Easter brunch, the palette was lavender, orchid, some nude pinks and very sheer watercolor greens and gold.
If there were a formula for the perfect Easter table setting, what would it be?
Vintage cut linens (everyone’s afraid to get them dirty, but they were meant to be used), your grandma’s crystal and china, and your own color story.
What are some of the touches the hotel adds to makes the occasion feel so special?
The knife rest is very important. Since Easter brunch is usually a buffet, guests don’t want to haul their used utensils around with them but they also don’t want to place them on your clean tablecloth. The knife rest sets them up for success.
We also provide diners with toast warmers, tea strainers, and Monte Carlo votive candle holders.
Tell us about the food!
Our brunches are when we show off a lot more of the New Orleans colonial influence, which is expressed more through the food. We feature signature dishes like Oysters Rockefeller, Eggs Benedict, Doberge cake, Tarte Tatin, and Croquembouche along with American South components like beef tenderloin with bordelaise and bourbon chocolate pecan pie.
One last tip from the pro:
“This is your opportunity to drag out all of your grandmother’s old pieces,” says Heymann. “The weird funky things that you inherited and maybe you’re not even sure what they’re for… this is their time to shine.”