Breakfast at Brasil: Eggs El Salvador

I know that this will not sit well with many Montrose-dwelling diners, but I don't really like Brasil, at least not for the food. Sure, it's a great place to go hang out over a cup of coffee or a beer, relaxing on the patio and watching the Montrosian wildlife walk by, caught in their timeless mating dance of skinny jeans and fixies, while Harry Sheppard sets the vibe (pun intended) inside. The food, though? The food, I've always found a bit lackluster.

It's been frustrating, too, because much of the menu has always sounded interesting and tasty. Then I place an order and am presented with the blandest possible interpretation of whatever piqued my interest in the first place. There are exceptions to the rule (Alsace pizza, laced with prosciutto and red onion, comes to mind), but for the most part, that's been my experience.

I have no doubt that many of you will chime in, addressing my ignorance regarding some menu gem or other, and I look forward to it. That, however, is not why we're here. We're here because of breakfast.

I discovered recently, and quite to my surprise, that Brasil serves some of the best breakfast dishes in Houston. Whereas the lunch and dinner menu is full of interesting-sounding dishes that don't deliver, the breakfast menu lives up to its hype. The Red Velvet Hash is good enough to inspire recreation; the earthy blend of quinoa , egg whites and wild mushrooms tastes more like a sinful indulgence than dietary penance; the scones, both savory and sweet, are perfect pickings for an extra leisurely breakfast spent nibbling on a crumbly pastry, sipping a cup of coffee, and reading a book on the patio. My favorite of all, though, is the amazing and unexpected Eggs El Salvador.

Starting with a base of arepas, the dish then builds upward with perfectly poached eggs (egg cookery is something Brasil has down pat), a glistening avalanche of chorizo in salsa rojo (I told you, I can't resist chorizo), a splash of contrasting, tart salsa verde, and a sprinkling of queso fresco. A tart and crunchy cabbage and carrot slaw, perked up by lime, sides the dish, along with a ramekin of properly cooked but superfluous black beans.

The dish is a study in contrasts. A perfect bite will encompass the savory and slightly sweet chew of the arepa, the oozy and decadent richness of egg, piquant and meaty chorizo, sharp salsa, and the pungency of salty-fresh Mexican cheese. If you really do it right, you'll also include a bit of slaw, for a wonderful crunch that sets off the supple texture of the main attraction perfectly. It has quickly become standard in my restaurant-breakfast rotation.

What about you? Are there any restaurants out there you generally dislike, but count on for scratching that breakfast itch?

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Nicholas L. Hall is a husband and father who earns his keep playing a video game that controls the U.S. power grid. He also writes for the Houston Press about food, booze and music, in an attempt to keep the demons at bay. When he's not busy keeping your lights on, he can usually be found making various messes in the kitchen, with apologies to his wife.
Contact: Nicholas L. Hall