Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Detroit's Breakfast House and Grill, Detroit MI

Funky and high class at the same time. Upscale "southern" breakfast foods served in a beautiful restaurant with friendly servers and light motown music playing in the background. Interesting varieties of pancakes, waffles, french toast, eggs, and fried chicken/pork/catfish. So why only 3 stars? Let me explain.

Plusses: I loved the setting, the seating, the friendly servers, and 3 of the 5 items we selected. I loved the music, the hospitality, and the layout.

Minuses: I hated 2 of the 5 items we selected, it took 14 minutes to get a refill of my coffee and longer to get water refilled, and no corn bread.

Both the Banana's Foster French Toast and especially Franks stuffed toast were excellent. The Pullman/Sourdough was perfectly cooked, spiked with just a bit of cinnamon, and had a heavenly vanilla undertone. The Rum/Maple syrup served with the Banana's Foster was heavenly and the bananas were perfectly ripe while the creamcheese/whipped cream topping filling Frank's Stuffed French Toast was very mild and airy, yet at the same time endulgant and creamy. The apples in the Stuffed Toast....they worked in the context of this dish......

.....utilizing the same apples in on the Waffle, however, did not. Why a nice restaurant would stoop to using canned apple pie filling is beyond me. If they want to hide it in the stuffed toast, that is fine, but to simply glop a large luke-warm portion of it on a doughy and undercooked waffle......poor form. Having had southern style waffles and chicken at Roscoes in the past, I can definitely say that the waffles here were mediocre and the addition of the apples harmed the dish more than helping it. I've had cafeteria waffles in college that were better.

For sides we selected the grits and the Canadian bacon. To be honest, the cheesy grits were legendary and were actually better than King crab grits we had the same evening at Iridescence. The spicy popcorn shrimp and green peppers added an interesting twist to the dish and at $6 the portion was nearly meal sized and wonderfully creamy and savory to contrast with the sweet French Toast.

The Canadian Bacon didn't fare as well, however, as it was vastly oversalted and was barely palatable even with the addition of maple syrup. The price, at $4, was also excessive.

While the food had its hits and misses and I'd definitely return for the grits and the french toast, I likely will never return here for breakfast because of the service. While servers were INCREDIBLY friendly, the owners of this establishment are clearly tightwads (the apple pie filling is one indicator) and make their servers also bus tables and handle refills.......which are handled poorly. If there is one thing that can ruin a breakfast in my world, it is sitting around with an empty cup and I felt like I did WAY too much of this at Breakfast House as my waiter helped other tables, bussed tables, and set up for incoming diners. Hiring a couple busboys who bus tables and refill coffee could do this place a world of good.

Finally, when I go someplace for 'southern' or 'soulfood,' I have an expectation of cornbread. As this place did not have any, I was disappointed. Perhaps that is unfair, but considering the 'southern' nature and focus on fried foods, biscuits, etc.....why English Muffins and no cornbread?

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