Saturday, April 25, 2009

Blackbird Cafe's Scratch Brunch

I love the fact that the neighborhood restaurant pulse has been so strong in SW Minni. I enjoy fine dining with the best of them, but there's just a clearly different and more leisurely vibe in some of the neighborhood establishments. I really appreciate a restaurant's ability to match the pace of service and a price point to correspond with the makeup of a specific neighborhood, and Blackbird Cafe has done that perfectly in my opinion. If nothing else, I know there won't be any vultures circling over my table and that no one is going to give me the hard sell on the scallops.

Blackbird is nestled right between Heidi's and the Malt Shop, offering a nice little glimpse of the diversity we enjoy over here. The cafe serves creative twists on classics and a few surprises that change frequently, yet aren't overly refined. Everything is made from scratch, and if for whatever reason you don't like it, you have to at least appreciate the effort. I've enjoyed many meals there, but the chance to catch up with my mother offered a unique opportunity for me to check out their brunch capabilities. I've walked by before during brunch service and the place has been jammed, so I figured all those breakfast-seeking souls must be on to something.

A few menu items immediately jumped out, but I was slow to forget the two interesting options gracing their specials board. After a quick consultation with my mom, we decided to order and split (a request that the cafe was happy to accommodate) both the specials: A breakfast sandwich utilizing french toast slices with ham, scrambled eggs and Gruyere (similar to their Monte Cristo) and a frittata with sausage, olives, fontina and sage.

The service was spirited and our coffee arrived as quickly as the order rolled off our tongues. We set in for some catching up (my mom's business, cheese and bread making, canning, plans for the summer) and before we knew it our breakfast had arrived. The Breakfast sandwich was a monster triple decker. The bread was nicely gridded and the fluffy eggs were overflowing the edges. Griddled ham and the creamy melted cheese rounded out the classic, though the cheese was a bit sparse. The part I enjoyed the most was their orange marmalade. The sandwich was served with the typical maple syrup sidecar, but I thought the marmalade was a nice foil for the saltiness of the ham. Oh, and their house-made pickles are pretty mean too. I never would have ordered this sandwich on my own, but having my mom there, and the staff''s cooperation allowed us to share and enjoy the dish together.

The frittata came out just moments later and looked quite good. I rarely order frittatas outside of the friendly confides of Zumbro Cafe, but the thought of olives, sage and eggs intrigued me. The eggs were perfectly cooked, and managed to dodge the dry-out that can easily occur when crafting a frittata. The flavor combination was quite unique with a big savory hint from the sage and sausage - a killer combo on its own. The olives were unfortunately muted in comparison to the flavors expelled from the aromatics, but the creaminess of the fontina managed to keep everything in check and provided a solidifying element of texture. The only missing element was a small fruit or roasted potato garnish as the plat looked pretty plain.

I really enjoyed my breakfast at Blackbird and will be back both for the food, but also for the feeling I get from the place. The spirit is strong, the staff is friendly, and I'm typically fortunate enough to keep the kind of company that makes this place a perfect place to relax and enjoy a good-old made from scratch meal.

Happy Eating,



kat said...

We love love love their breakfast. Its become our new go to place especially since Egg & I's quality seems to have dropped.

HungryinSW said...


Glad you like it so much too. The people are ridiculously friendly, aren't they? Bummer about the Egg & I! I know how crucial a go-to breakfast spot can be!

Tom said...

Chris is a master of eggs! Try as I might I will never make eggs like that man.

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