For me, eating a meal in the Old Port comes with certain expectations. I expect show up under-dressed, no matter how hard I try. I expect to incorrectly pronounce my order. I expect to use the wrong fork for my entree. Maybe I’m wrong, but these are my expectations. In fact, after having brunch at Suite 701, I know I’m wrong.

Suite 701 is in Place d’Armes, on the first floor of Le Place d’Armes Hotel & Suites. It’s a huge space with giant, billowy curtains and chandeliers in birdcages. It has an elegant lounge atmosphere, complete with a DJ. When my photographer, Gabe, and I arrived at noon, it was somewhat empty. The few patrons were good-looking and well-dressed. I’m a few zeroes away from being a wealthy jet-setter, so I began wondering whether or not I was out of my element.

Looking at the menu, however, I was happily surprised at the affordable prices. Most entrees were set at under $20. Everything on the menu was familiar. Lots of bacon. Lots of eggs.

In any case, whatever rigid social conventions I had constructed around eating a meal in the Old Port, continued to dissolve before me. The coffee kept coming, diner-style. The DJ played “Sex Machine” by James Brown. I ordered the Eggs Benedict with potatoes. It was as creamy, fatty, and salty as Eggs Benedict ought to be. Gabe ordered scallops wrapped in bacon, which came with a celery heart salad. She said the mildness and lightness of the salad complemented the savory bacon-scallop balls very well. The portions were ample. It was attentively presented.

Eggs Benedict with potatoes

As the Suite 701 began filling up, the restaurant’s casual nature became more and more obvious. A group of women wearing workout spandex and yoga pants, all with their hair tied up, sat down for mimosas. Several people ate alone and read the paper without seeming uncomfortable to be eating alone. Maybe I’m more self-conscious than average, but I was impressed that at a restaurant which, on the surface, appeared to be a posh, people didn’t seem concerned with breaking the social taboos associated with boozing during a 1PM breakfast alone like Sid Vicious, or something.

Bacon-wrapped scallops with a celery heart salad

Having brunch at Suite 701 was a disarming experience. Although people tend to look impressively successful, brunch in the Old Port is as laid-back and affordable as you want it to be. Suite 701 guarantees that, with a well-prepared, delicious meal.

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