Sunday, November 12, 2006

HFF Quickie: 900 Grayson

*****UPDATE: A return visit and a taste of the "Demon Lover"--a slightly spicy breaded and fried chicken paillard on their waffle smothered in rich white gravy. Fucking great! Honestly one of the best pieces of fried chicken ever moist and tender, crispy on the outside. Great peppery gravy, slightly sweet waffle, crisp-crusted paillard. Big but balanced flavors, rich and filling. Also available on the lunch money.*****

It's Monday. A new week, a new breakfast. Met up with coworkers at 900 Grayson, the hot(ish) breakfast/lunch spot in industrial West Berkeley.

Home-y interior with neo-rustic chic tables and chairs. Nice garden out back, reasonably secluded from the surrounding manufacturing and biomedical research facilities. Large creepy painting of a rooster on the wall.

We were promptly greeted by a friendly host/server who informed us that the coffee machine was broken, though espresso was flowing freely. Not a big deal. The machine was back on-line before we left and he circled, offering complimentary coffee.

So the food. At the table we had the Potter's Creek--a basic fresh egg and herb scramble with shredded hash browns and toasted pain de mie. Not what I would've ordered, but it definitely was well-made.

We also had a Time-Life Cookbook--an emmental omelette "souffle" with the same hash browns and a small fuji apple salad on the side. Eggs were light and fluffy and the apple salad was a nice touch. It was lacking flavor depth--herbs, veggies, something. This proved a common theme--everything was well-executed and tasty, but lacking a savory depth that would've heightened the other flavors.

Another dish--cheekily called "Breakfast"--scrambled eggs, levain toast, bacon or sausage, and the same shredded hashbrowns. A fresh organic take on breakfast.

I had the "7th and Grayson"-- a tofu, red onion, tomato, mint, olive, and harissa scramble with levain toast and hash browns (these cooked in olive oil to keep the dish vegan). This was great--it had that savoriness that the other dishes lacked. I added hass avocado (one of the many sides and add-ons offered on the "make-up kit" a la carte list). Tasty.

We also shared an "I'm Not Belgian" waffle. This was a minor disappointment--neither light and fluffy nor dense and nutty. Ah well.

One service note: my breakfast didn't arrive initially--seemingly as an error. Server took it off the bill, no harm done.

Probably the best organic/farm-fresh take on breakfast I've had and the tofu scramble showed flashes of brilliance. Curious to try lunch (and the upcoming dinner menu) to see what 900 Grayson can do when freed of the constraints of what we expect from "breakfast."

900 Grayson
Grayson at 7th St.,
Berkeley, Ca 94710
Total Cost for Four (4 plates, 4 coffees, 1 side, tax, tip): $45

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