I had heard some people talk about brunch at Bent Rail—and I am always on a quest to find a good brunch place. We also enjoyed a lot of what we had the first time we went, so I rounded up my family, including my parents and my sister and her husband, and we met over there one Saturday.
Ok, first a little complaint right out of the gate. I had checked their brunch menu out online, which was quite extensive and listed its availability as Saturday and Sunday. When we got to the restaurant, there were much fewer options for brunch (probably less than ½ what’s shown online) and it says it’s only available on Sundays. They did tell us we could feel free to order from it though (and it was Saturday). I was a little disappointed—I think maybe they should update the website—it’s a bit misleading.
The kids were insisting on pretzels to start, because that was their favorite thing last time we came. They have changed them from the first time to pretzel bites, but I have absolutely no problem with that as it makes them easier to share. We had two orders and they disappeared quickly between the eight of us. I like the beer cheese and grainy mustard they serve with them—I’ll admit, I’m eating a lot more of the beer cheese than I am the mustard, but a little of both is kind of nice. The pretzel bites are good. Soft and salty. The kids were happy.
Anyway, I did order from the brunch menu. I had “Andy’s breakfast sandwich” ($10.50)(and somehow I managed to take a picture of everything but my own sandwich). It sounded like an interesting combination. It was an English muffin topped with a patty of duck sausage, pimento cheese, a fried egg and buffalo sauce. Sounds kind of unique yes? And it was, but there were some big flaws for me. First of all the egg wasn’t really runny. Now, maybe I should have specifically asked, because in my mind the only way to eat an egg is runny, but maybe not everyone agrees. Next, while the sausage had a nice flavor and went well in that way with the egg and pimento cheese, the patty was at most, a third of the size of the muffin. It was almost more like a meatball. I ended up taking it off and chopping it into little bits to scatter across the sandwich so I could get some with each bite (what? I have a proportion problem). I liked the pimento cheese and the buffalo sauce though, it made for a little of a spicy kick, which is a nice change of pace. Not sure I would order this one again though.
Probably my favorite of the brunch dishes was my son’s biscuits and gravy ($8). You get biscuits, you get gravy with Eli Creek pork breakfast sausage mixed into it, and you get two scrambled eggs (they came about 5 minutes after the biscuits and gravy came for some reason). The biscuits were very different from most, cut into squares and very dense, but they had a great flavor—really flaky too. The eggs were also scrambled really well—not overdone or anything. A bite of everything together was great.
Hubby refused to venture out of the thing he liked the first time he went, so he got the Cuban again ($10). This is a pretty classic Cuban—roasted pork, ham, garlic dill pickles, yellow mustard and Swiss cheese. It’s all pressed flat on a torta style bun. It’s got just the right amount of everything, including the mustard and pickles, which are key in a Cuban. A very good sandwich.
My daughter didn’t want a sandwich and just ordered the baked goat cheese appetizer for her lunch ($10.50). I liked the way they change this up—usually baked goat cheese apps come in a big pool of marinara, which is fine, but kind of boring because it is so common. This one comes with roasted garlic olive oil and thyme. I liked the way there were big cloves of roasted garlic as well. It was a tasty bite with some of the cheese and a smear of the roasted garlic. It comes with slices of toasted bread to spread it on. It was good, but can’t say I would order it for my meal.
There were several other sandwiches floating around the table, but the only other one I tried was the Korean roasted BBQ sandwich ($12). It is barbequed pork, kimchi and a fried egg. Quite intriguing sounding, but for me, the execution was a bit lacking. The only moisture came from the egg, and again, it was not very runny and therefore, the whole sandwich was a bit dry. I also expected it to be a bit spicier. I would pass on this one in the future.
So overall, there were some ups and downs food-wise and I can’t say there was anything that really blew my mind, even though there were some tasty items. I hope they fix the brunch menu issue though. Also, the atmosphere at this place is a little stark, particularly since when I have been there, it has been pretty empty. Finally, I thought it somewhat surprising that they are still not brewing their own beer. I wonder if they have just decided not to do it.
Bent Rail Brewery
5301 Winthrop Ave