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A word of warning about brunching at Urban Eats: don’t go with anyone who believes mac ‘n cheese doesn’t belong at brunch.

The fact that you can order their much-touted three pig truffled mac ‘n cheese (not to mention their bacon and onion-braised brussels sprouts) as a side dish at brunch is just one perk of starting your day at the five-month old eatery/market/bar, opened in December by Chef Levi Rollins (parking is another perk; their location on Washington Avenue is surrounded by a decently-sized parking lot).

Upon our arrival, it was a struggle to tear ourselves away from the shelves of striking pasta, sauces, breads, and cases of enormous pastries in the specialty market and takeaway area downstairs, but once my dining companion and I finally made it upstairs to the table-service restaurant and bar, we settled into a satisfying feast.

True to the concept of comfort food with a twist, the brunch menu contains some of the usual suspects—quiche-like breakfast pies, hearty salads, and egg-topped hashes—but with captivating twists. The breakfast pies are quarantined by a buttermilk biscuit crust, salads are bedecked with curried cashews and pumpernickel croutons, and chicken and waffles is reinterpreted as chicken on buttermilk beignets. Sunday Sliders are a curated assortment of popular sliders from the lunch/dinner menu, and while you unfortunately can’t order two different types of sliders in one order (with the idea of sharing different sliders with your dining companions), my friend couldn’t complain about doubling down on the Southern Chicks sliders: generous rounds of toast sandwiching notable juicy and tender chicken in a lightly breaded coating, brightened by generous swaths of lime garlic mayo.

Unable to resist ordering the mac ‘n cheese after hearing three separate recommendations, we invited more carbs to the carb-fest with a small boat (an easily-justified $10 price tag) of the bacon, pancetta, honey-glazed ham and white truffle oil-spiked pasta. With a crisp, browned topping and a creamy, truffle and pork fat-infused interior, it was the kind of over-the-top, unquestionably decadent dish that could only have been elevated by arriving hot instead of lukewarm. In a similar vein, though I was most excited about the prospect of a biscuit crust around my spinach and shallot breakfast pie, I found the best part of a biscuit—the fat puffiness that yields flaky, tender layers—to be missing in the sadly flat (though still tasty) crust. Still, the service was attentive and friendly enough to make up for these slight missteps. I left no less eager to come again, perhaps to try the brussels toss salad with a side of rosemary garlic monkey bread, or the fried green tomato sliders on a pretzel roll with peach pepper jam.

Ending on a sweet note with the pecan praline bread pudding led us to delight in the highlights of sweet, sandy nuggets of buttermilk pecan praline chips sprinkled atop—though on my way out, I found myself eyeing the Lemon Meringue Tartlet in the pastry case, a vast circle of toasted meringue that looks well worth the $7 price tag. Next time.

Urban Eats
3414 Washington Ave
Houston, TX 77007

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Erika Kwee

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