Chicken Florentine Benny at Brick & Spoon
Chicken Florentine Benny
Photo by Joanna O'Leary
To visit Brick & Spoon, I first had to get over my annoyance over the recent rash of restaurants in Houston that have chosen to title themselves via the pairing of two vaguely related things through the conjunction "and." (See Goro & Gun, Fish & The Knife.)
Then, I had convince myself that I could still have a substantial culinary experience at Brick & Spoon even if my own taste preferences preemptively eliminated one entire section of themenu. (Sorry, no "Big Spoon Bloody Mary" for me. I am one of three people in the United States who actively dislikes this cocktail. And, yes, I have been to a doctor.)
But I resolved these existential challenges and skipped off to Brick & Spoon one cool weekday morning.
Focusing on "breakfast, brunch & lunch edibles," Brick & Spoon is only open until 2 p.m., so late-risers be forewarned you can't show up at 4 p.m. and expect some eggs. The menu features matutdinal mainstays such as omelets, crepes, and french toast as well as burgers, sandwiches, and salads adorned with various proteins.
I decided to skip ordering all of the aforementioned in favor of trying one of Brick & Spoon's fancier specialties, the Chicken Florentine Benny. Since the ham component of traditional eggs benedict has always been my least favorite part of the dish, I've always preferred a substitution. The swap of ham for spinach (which, along with the swap of hollandaise for mornay, transforms eggs benedict to eggs florentine) plus the addition of some chicken sounded wonderful to me. I chose the cheese grits as a side, eschewing the other options of house-made chips and quinoa salad.
Recently, Molly Dunn named eggs benedict the most difficult food to make at home; fortunately, that is not the case in my house as my husband has perfected the art of making "poachies" with hollandaise sauce. And, I'm delighted to report it is most definitely not the case at Brick & Spoon, whose over-sized ova arrived fluffy and plump with sunny yolk. The butter and spice components of the bechamel were perfectly balanced and portions so generous that a large wake of sauce gradually saturated the English muffin bases. (One small point of confusion: the menu describes the sauce as a "house-made hollandaise," but what I tasted suggested more of the traditional mornay.) The small chunks of dark meat chicken included were cooked well, though their addition seemed to be a bit of an afterthought given they weren't seasoned in any imaginative fashion.
And while I can't speak to the quality of the other side options, I will vouch for the hearty portion of corn grits, more pleasantly gravelly than effetely creamy, and with a strong infusion of savory dairy.
The overall success of this dish strongly suggests Brick & Spoon has other delicious tricks up its sleeve; next time, I'm looking forward to trying the "Grownup Grilled Cheese" and creole omelet.
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