Ezra Tilaye is the reason that I liked this place. If everyone on his staff had his energy and charisma, this could be a regular stop for me. I like this place as Creme, and the revamped space is modern; It seems like they are going for an intimate, maybe sexy space, but its HUGE – high ceilings and minimalist walls. There is a cow hide pattern on some of the booths adding a fun personalized style, but not particularly romantic. I like this place, but I don’t think it’s quite figured out what it wants to do. They are making craft drinks, but they aren’t open late. They are in a business district, but they aren’t open for lunch. There is nothing in the area for late night drinks – except the gay bars – maybe that’s because there isn’t a crowd, but it seems to me a little bit of “Who’s on First”.
I stopped in for brunch – because the Ware House has limited hours – closing at 10:30 pm on Fridays and Saturdays. This isn’t your boozy, all you can drink brunch, but they have a fantastic bar menu. For me, on this Sunday, it was clear that the guy behind the bar did not make up the bar menu, as he had some trouble making anything other than a mimosa. I ordered their Basil 75 – which is a slightly modified French 75 using basil infused gin. Dave was nice, but should probably stay as a service bartender – well maybe not – as I have never seen anyone pour the bubbly stuff in the glass first. I love a French 75 – especially as a brunch cocktail – but this one didn’t have a basil or gin flavor and had very little bubbles.
Foodwise – menu looked fantastic. I should have asked Ezra, who was chef-n-it-up in the kitchen on this particular Sunday. I want to believe that the Chef who could create that creative menu could also execute. Our brunch was good – but not good enough to make me rush back and take all my friends.
I went with the pork belly benny and a side of grits. The pork belly was great – but really – it’s pork belly. The eggs were poached a little harder than I like. I prefer a runny yoke, that pours on the plate and encompasses all the flavors together.
This one didn’t. The hollandaise was rather bland too – I didn’t taste any of the lemon, as stated on the menu. I’d skip the side of grits, unless you like to doctor your own with butter, cheese, salt, or syrup – they are very basic – texture is fine, but there is not much else going on.
I also tried the fish tacos – which were described to me as blackened, but came to the tables as fried. I liked these, there was great flavor combinations happening with the fish and the watermelon salsa. I would have liked a little more salt. Plus, they are corn totillas. I love corn tortilla, but if your not super quick when eating them they can get a little crumbly, which is why many places double wrap them. It would have been fine, but since it is served in the little “taco tray”, when the chunks fall apart, they are kind of hard to scoop back up.