This is a review in which I am actually including two visits—my first was for brunch with the family and the second for lunch with a friend. We ended up there for brunch with the kids recently when we wanted to hit Taste with the kids, but when we got there, the line was out the door and none of us had the patience for it. At SoBro, we sat right down and were greeted by a friendly server. It was between 11:00 am and noon on a Sunday, and the only menu option at that time was the brunch menu, which was limited to 6 or 7 items, but luckily there was something that appealed to everyone.
I had the fried egg sandwich ($9.50 with bacon), hubby had the biscuits and gravy ($6.95) (they also have a vegetarian version), my son some scrambled eggs and toast and bacon ($5.95), and my daughter the “French kiss” toast ($7.25). I didn’t notice a children’s menu at all, so they were just ordering off the regular menu (although there were a few kids in there besides mine).
My fried egg sandwich was tasty, although simple. I didn’t ask for the egg to be any certain way, I sort of thought I would see how they do it, and they fried it fairly hard (boo) but the flavors of the bacon, the avocado, tomato, lettuce, and cheese were all good. I would recommend sourdough bread (which is what I got) because the wheat that my son got alongside his eggs was a little hard. There was also a generous portion of home fries with the sandwich--they were fine, the ones that were the crispiest I liked, but I have to admit, I am not generally a home fries kind of girl anyway. It is hard to find any that have ever really gotten me excited.
The best item by far on the table though, was hubby’s biscuits and gravy (I hate it when he out orders me). There were two biscuits cut in half and covered with the chunky, sausage filled gravy. The sausage was nice and peppery and I loved the thinner gravy. Usually I am not a big fan of biscuits and gravy (and really a lot of gravy in general), because of the over-thickened, fakey, taste that so many of them have. This gravy was great. Thinner, like I said, and exceptionally well seasoned. It had a fair amount of peppery spiciness. I also really liked the fact that the biscuits stood on their own and remained crispy under the gravy. Honestly, I clearly preferred hubby’s breakfast to mine (even though mine was fine too). Luckily, there was plenty for us to share. Hubby, who is a big biscuits and gravy fan, declared this may be his favorite in town.
The French toast was very popular with the kids, and I am pretty sure they would both get this on a return visit. It is supposed to come with cream cheese and strawberries on top, but my daughter asked for them on the side. She did end up spreading the cream cheese on several pieces and enjoyed it together. I think she might even let them make it the way it is listed on the menu next time. I had a little bite. It was basic French toast to me—nothing that made it stand out from what you might make at home, other than I have never topped mine with cream cheese. The eggs and bacon were also straightforward—my son ordered them scrambled. Your basic scrambled eggs with some pretty tasty bacon alongside (although now every time I see bacon on a menu, I am hoping for Smoking Goose, I love that stuff.)
So the next visit I met a friend for lunch, and was disappointed to be told as soon as I sat down that they were out of their specialty Dutch Pennekoeken, which are listed as “pancakes” but which I am told are a lot like crepes actually. They have several savory options, and I love a good savory crepe. Sadly, I didn’t get to try one this time. So we split an appetizer of corn fritters ($4.50) which were like little pancakes themselves, but with chunks of corn in them and made with at least some cornmeal I would guess. I liked the chunky bits of corn and the sweet flavor, but they were maybe just a tad dry. They were served with a spicy black bean dip as well as a flavored sour cream which I really enjoyed. The sour cream had an extra tangy flavor (lime perhaps) and it added good moisture to the corn cakes. They also brought us a side of their sweet potato fries (which are baked actually) on the house ($3.50 or $2.25 with a sandwich) because they felt bad for the fact that they had run out of pancakes. I think these are one of the things that are not housemade, and to be honest, they didn’t really wow me. They did have a nice crunch for being baked, and I appreciated that. I also liked the thick homemade ketchup alongside. I did appreciate the gesture though—they certainly wanted to make us happy.
After re-evaluating my options, I settled on the Tunisian Melt just because it sounded intriguing (and our server said it was one of her favorites) ($8.25). It was an open faced sandwich (Texas toast) topped with tuna salad with potato chunks, sprouts, a little spinach, boiled egg, a lemon caper dill sauce, harissa (a type of chili sauce), and topped with melted cheddar cheese. Sounds kinda strange huh? But it sort of made me think of a Niçoise salad kind of flavor which sounded really good to me. And I really quite enjoyed it. The tuna part itself was not like your traditional tuna salad kind of thing (which I NEVER order by the way)—it wasn’t mayo based the way so many are. I really liked the salty, tangy lemon caper sauce and the texture variation of the eggs and the potatoes. It was slightly warm with the melted cheese. I appreciated the fact that it was something very different from most sandwiches you see around and I thought the flavors pretty much worked. There was a lot going on, but I enjoyed it. I would get it again I think, although hopefully at some point I can get one of those pancakes (anyone had one?)
One of the nicest things about SoBro café is how friendly the staff is—our server was super friendly and apologetic about the pancake situation and knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the food. Another person (manager/owner?) came by several times as well to refill our drinks and check on us. I also liked the cute little statues that hold the checks at the end. The food is nearly all homemade, and there is creativity being demonstrated, which I like in a lunch place. So often sandwich menus look identical, and there are some deviations here (although there are plenty of standards as well). I would love to hear what you guys think of the place if you’ve been.
653 East 52nd Street