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 last 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.
1. 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.)
2. 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 on 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 today.
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.
4. 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.
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5. 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 fraiche and a drizzle of honey. Ceviches made with golden tile fish 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.