Down House has been seating folks for breakfast and lunch for approaching three weeks now. But, the restaurant is still in its soft-opening period despite running a wait during lunch this week. In fact, according to General Manager Forrest deSpain, "as far as we're concerned, we haven't even opened yet."
Soft opening or not, the breakfast has been fantastic during my two visits, with only minor hiccups. Hungry customers should skip straight to the Down Breakfast: two eggs cooked to order, home fries, toast and your choice of bacon, sausage or a pork chop. The latter presented a minor sign of the soft open during my first visit; the pork chop was cut too thick for quick breakfast cooking, which resulted in it being a bit too rare. Big deal. Our server Mary Beth whisked it away to the chef, and Forrest returned a new cut in a relative flash. I was too busy enjoying a homemade muffin to notice.
I'd remarked to my dining companion (and Life Coach) that "this is possibly the best muffin I've ever eaten. The stumps are as good as the tops." The muffins are made fresh daily, and the not-so-secret reason they're so damn good is because they are halved at the stump/muffin line and then each is soaked in a thin pool of melted butter. Dear Cardiologist, it was worth it.
The whole grain waffle and breakfast torta are two other standouts during my second breakfast foray. The latter combines pulled carnitas, slaw, avocado and a fried egg for a double-fist of wow, with the texture of the well-marinated, tender pork combining wonderfully with the cabbage and bread. And, the waffle was cooked through without being hard. However, the ample serving of accompanying whipping cream would have made a hockey puck taste great.
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The interior of the eatery complements the food with a well-done simplicity of its own. The structure is a former bank building on Yale in The Heights that has been repurposed with an interior design in a muted, industrial-meets-lounge style that is welcoming and establishes a "you will enjoy this experience" vibe as soon as you enter the structure. Nifty touches include the industrial-style lighting fixtures and the double banquette paired with industrial pull carts as coffee tables.
Down House has been open for only two weeks, but one visit will convince you that it should be your Peach Pit. If the breakfast doesn't seal the deal, then wait for the classic cocktails slated to begin after the restaurant actually (grand) opens.