Brian Nasajon was 22 years old when he realized he wanted to trade in his philosophy degree from New York University for forks and French toast. Nine years later, he’s the man behind the open kitchen at the industrial-chic Beaker & Gray.
The Wynwood restaurant has become a popular brunch spot, where families feast with newborns, millennials celebrate birthdays and grandparents aren’t bothered by the noise.
Beaker & Gray’s brunch is served from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekends. The eclectic menu features food such as chilaquiles ($18), a nachos-like dish with pollo asado, yucca and chipotle, and shrimp n' polenta ($16), with blue corn masa flour, bacon and pineapple.
“Beaker & Gray is really specific about not being tied down to any specific regional cuisine, but kind of just embracing global ingredients without using specific regional techniques,” Nasajon says.
The croque madame ($17), for example, plays on the classic French dish, but substitutes oxtail for ham atop Zak the Baker sourdough. It’s then topped with Gruyere cheese and a fried egg.
The sourdough French toast ($13) is marinated in leche condensada overnight, then coated and cooked in Rice Krispies and served with a bacon-maple syrup.
Nasajon says contentment is the philosophy behind Beaker & Gray’s dishes. He says the concept is emphasized even more so during brunch.
“Brunch to me is this super comforting time to eat,” Nasajon says. “We wanted to do something really interesting with the flavor profiles, and with the dishes that we’re serving, but maintaining that sense of comfort and approachability.”
Nasajon’s brainchild is a family business, which may factor into Beaker & Gray’s seemingly effortless sense of ease. Although his parents had no previous experience in the restaurant business, they are the restaurant’s co-owners.
“He came up with [Beaker & Gray’s] concept, bringing fine dining to a casual environment,” Nasajon’s mother, Renee Nasajon, says. “He was so phenomenal that [my husband and I] decided to do something with him and see what he can do. So this is what he can do.”