Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Does E2 Have the Right Equation?

I’m a bit of a brunch addict.  So I, had to make a stop at E2 one Saturday, not too long ago, to see if the hype I'd heard was warranted. 

In my experience, if you’re serving up a killer brunch menu, there will indefinitely be a line of hungry folks waiting for your door to open.  This is why I was peeved at the hubby because he had hit the alarm too many times.  So rather than being sensibly early for the 9 am opening, we were obnoxiously late…pulling in to a parking spot at (gasp!) 9:01 am.  I noticed a group of 5 or 6 people approaching E2 which caused me to power walk to the front step.  To my surprise, however, the group kept on walking.  Still feeling triumphant none-the-less (I would’ve beat them) we were greeted outside by the host. 

He brought us into the empty, dimly lit dining area and sat us at one of the 10 or so tables.  We were handed a menu that contained several choices of donuts and ooooo beignets!  While my sweet tooth was delighted, my stomach was wondering where to find the “real food”?   I soon noticed a chalkboard with the brunch entrees listed in various colors.  Some of the colored chalk was hard to read but we managed to discover some yummy sounding selections.  I was torn between trying the French Toast with Nectarine and Raspberry Jam and the Egg Sammy.  To ease my decision, I had to ask the tough question: What kind of bread is the French Toast made from?  Our waiter (also the host) was unsure and had to ask the kitchen.  As I awaited his answer, I crossed my fingers and hoped that he wasn’t going to tell me Texas Toast*. I was soon informed it was sourdough from Breadworks.  Yeah for local goods!  I was sold.  The hubby ordered the omelet, which came with potatoes and salad.  

We enjoyed some good strong coffee while we waited for our eats to come out.  It wasn’t much of a wait considering we were only one of three occupied tables.  In no time at all, I was taking in the presentation and smells of my fancy French Toast.  Three thin slices of golden pieces of sourdough were the stage for a generous cascade of jam.  Atop it all, was a delicate dollop of mascarpone cheese.  Hello!  It looked picturesque but would my eyes and taste buds agree?  Fork to mouth…absolutely!  The toast was perfectly crisp on the outside and tender on the inside.  The jam, although not deseeded, was some of the best I’ve ever eaten with a perfect balance of acidity and sweetness.  And the mascarpone was a genius addition to this dish.  It’s light creaminess slowly melted over the hot jam.  It was down right sexy. 

Now if my dish was sexy like George Clooney, then my hubby’s dish was more like Phillip Seymour Hoffman…in Twister.  The omelet was dense and rather flat, not light and fluffy.  The mozzarella inside wasn’t melted either, although the egg itself was overcooked.  The potatoes could’ve been awesome-should’ve been awesome!  They were red potatoes, probably left over from the previous night’s dinner service as they should be and they were…absolute mush.  Why not fry them up a bit before serving them?  Breakfast potatoes should be crispy!  (It says so right here, on pg. 39 of the Breakfast Potatoes Bible.)  And the salad, which looked the best of all that was plated, was coated in black pepper and salt.  It was literally as if the S&P were spooned on top of the greens. 

After finishing my entrée, I wanted to try their beignets for dessert.  Being in the south from time to time, I know a good beignet and the thought of being able to eat a scrumptious fritter so close to home seemed too good to be true…and it was.  They actually compared their beignets to CAFÉ DU MONDE!  I guess the chef is banking on the fact that most people have never been there?  Two of the beignets were almost burnt and all of them tasted of old frying oil.  And they were not square as is tradition in NOLA; they looked more like snow-capped hush puppies.  Total let down. 

I give E2: 2.5/5 forks 

Will I return?  Maybe.  There are a lot of awesome brunch spots in the Burgh so I don’t know if it’s worth the risk.  The French Toast was awesomely good, though.   Stay tuned for a dinner review.

5904 Bryant St
PittsburghPA 15206

*I enjoy Texas Toast when patronizing diners.  If I’m paying $11 for French Toast, it better be a little more gourmet than that.