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Long ago, The Burger Guys held routine Bad-Ass Brunches that would feature inventive breakfast dishes such as Shrimp and Oats, Steak Meets Eggs and Glass of Milk. But then the guys got busy with running a temporary second location downtown and just being crazy, creative burger guys in general — it's a busy life when you run one of the best burger joints in town.
Luckily, the Bad-Ass Brunch is back. I attended the first revival of the brunch on a recent Sunday, and another is planned for June 17 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Like the rest of The Burger Guys' menu, nothing on the Bad-Ass Brunch menu is standard fare. That's why I've put together a field guide to eating brunch with Jake Mazzu and his crew (including prodigal son Brandon Fisch, who has returned to the fold after an absence spent at now-closed Yelapa Playa Mexicana and Xuco Xicana). I hope it's useful, and I hope you absolutely flood them with orders on June 17 so that they'll make the brunch a weekly instead of a monthly occasion.
5. This is not fast food. The brunch isn't meant to be a Le Peep-style affair, with quick service and tables turned in less than 45 minutes. Expect to plant yourself in one of the booths or at the long, silver counter for at least a couple of hours. Bring a book if you must, but don't get mad about the wait and stomp out to Doneraki, like one couple near me did. You've been warned. (Side note to the Guys: Employing another server certainly wouldn't hurt, as the one waitress seemed more than a little overwhelmed during the first brunch.)
4. This isn't typical brunch food. Again, you're not going to get eggs Benedict with a slice of cantaloupe on the side. The closest thing to a typical brunch item here is an omelet — filled with spicy homemade kimchi and served with a side of nuoc mam. But as my boyfriend said that Sunday morning, it was the best goddamned omelet he'd ever had in his life. I'm pretty positive that he's still talking about it to random people on the street.
3. Expect the unexpected. When you order migas at The Burger Guys, you're not going to get a pile of scrambled eggs and tortilla strips slammed onto a plate. You're going to get a pair of delicate bird's nests made with wispy shreds of corn tortillas, filled with eggs and perched upon an exquisite tomato puree.
2. Expect the expected. On the other hand, when you order a mirepoix Bloody Mary, understand that it's literally made with mirepoix. Raw onions, raw carrots and lots and lots of raw celery are mixed together with tomato juice and vodka — this is not a drink for the faint of heart, but it'll put at least 50 new hairs on your chest.
1. Don't think you're going to get burgers. You can get a burger here any time. Order extravagantly and prepare to experience something new in every dish. Peppery, nose-rackingly spicy radishes and gorgeous purple carrots dipped in foie gras butter. Biscuits infused with peanut butter and jelly, then topped with a tart, homemade crème fraîche and a drizzle of honey. Ceviches made with golden tilefish and cured with coconut leche de tigre, served with bright green pops of avocado and cucumber. Red snapper banh mi with a Sriracha-lime sauce. Everything but anything ordinary.
That's why you go to these brunches: for the excitement of trying something wholly new and communing with the chefs who hand it over the counter to you. The bottomless "adult OJ" isn't too bad of a draw, either, though — this is still brunch, after all.
Openings & Closings
Haven raises the raw bar.
Hang onto your napkins, folks — last week was a busy one for restaurant news around Houston.
While coffee connoisseurs across the city eagerly await the opening of Blacksmith and Southside Espresso, another new coffee shop is already taking shape in Midtown. Aperture Coffee & Wine Bar took over the old Coffee Groundz location at McGowen and Bagby on May 26. Although the old Coffee Groundz sign is still up for now, Aperture is otherwise fully open as both a coffee shop and a wine/beer bar — as well as a photography gallery component.
Look for more beer and wine from Local Pour, a new upscale pub and eatery, when it opens this fall in River Oaks at 1952 West Gray. Along with drinks, Local Pour plans to offer small plates and classic cocktails and even has a few beer dinners lined up for the future. You'll be able to enjoy all of the booze and food late into the evening, too: Local Pour will be open until 2 a.m. every night of the week.
Wondering what Local Pour is replacing? That would be the much-maligned Sherlock's Baker St. Pub, which closed last year after a shooting and subsequent TABC investigation.
Exciting news from Haven comes courtesy of its sous chef, Jean Philippe Gaston, who told Eater Houston that the locavore mecca will be installing a raw bar component this fall. "We're going to do raw in all its forms," he says.