Today's post is brought to you by Jill, a regular Breakfast Club member who has never before written a post for us. Please welcome her. We need more writing members around here, especially since Beau lives in Denver, and I have gotten so lazy about writing reviews of late.
401 E Hennepin Ave
There is nothing quite so exciting to our group as a new breakfast joint. However, an established joint expanding their menu to include brunch is probably the next best thing in the absence of the former. This is what had brought us to the Bulldog N.E. We walked in to the Bulldog N.E. expecting that the general public would be as excited about this new menu as we were. What we found wasn’t quite crickets but it was close. We helped ourselves to one of several open high-top tables-for-six and basked in the warm sunlight streaming through the large windows facing Hennepin Avenue. The Bulldog N.E.is quite a charmless place but I suppose it fills a niche in Northeast by being neither a grimy dive nor a polka bar. And as Jimmy became involuntarily hypnotized by the large flat-screen TV that I’m sure has never strayed from ESPN, it dawned on me why this place was so empty: it was noon on Super Bowl Sunday (a “national holiday”) and we are in a sports bar while everyone else was out shopping for chips and dip.
We were brought menus and ice water. We all scanned the menu and all simultaneously either said or thought, “Where is the brunch menu?” My heart sank when we discovered it in the middle of the table, roughly the size of a 99 cent greeting card with 26-font sized words on it. I did not count the number of brunch dish choices but, if I were hard-pressed, I would say there were four. It took about 37 seconds for the group to contemplate their brunch choices and return to scanning the regular menu.
The lip of Alex’s water glass was dirty, and she had a hard time concentrating on anything else, understandably. I was sipping on quite possibly the worst cup of coffee I had ever been served, but then again it arrived in a clear-glass coffee mug, against which I have a prejudice. Good coffee never comes in clear glass coffee mugs. Why is that? The mimosas were gigantic and they must have been good because Sarah was acting uncharacteristically giddy, and even flirting with the waiter. Jimmy was still hypnotized by the TV showing an endless loop of college basketball highlights, a subject about which I know he cares little. Perley was also sipping on the bad coffee wondering aloud why anyone would patron a bar called Whitey’s. Judy was navigating her humongous mimosa and telling us of how difficult is was to give a pregnant dog an ultrasound, you know, with all the hair and all.
We began to order. I needed to go last because, upon hearing that the bacon-thyme maple syrup actually had chunks of bacon in it, I needed to make another choice. By the end three burgers, one BLT, a brunch frittata, and a plate of corncakes (with plain pancake syrup) had been ordered.
The burgers, all made with Kobe beef, were an enormous hit as was the BLT. Sarah gave her meal an A+ and would have given it a higher grade if it were possible (whether this was Sarah or the mimosa talking, we’ll never know). The accompanying French fries were also good. They seemed fresh cut, thick, and not overcooked. The tater tots were also good but everyone agreed that it was difficult to screw up a tater tot as long as your cooking oil was fresh. Alex did not make any direct comments about her frittata but judging from her 75%-cleared plate, she enjoyed it but not enough to exclaim so. My corncakes were okay but I guess I was expecting pancakes made from cornmeal not flour pancakes dotted occasionally with corn kernels. I always tend to order sweet rather than savory breakfast dishes but I really should steer away from pancakes. Like the tater tots, pancakes are not exemplary of a chef’s prowess. To console myself about the poor decision I had made I ordered a glass of prosecco which was easily the highlight of my meal, not counting the conversation about ultrasounding a dog.
The moral of this story is: if you are in the mood for a breakfast joint where you have a hard time deciding what to order because oh-my-gosh everything here is so good, go to Bryant Lake Bowl. If you are in the mood for a good burger and a large screen TV, by all means, go to the Bulldog N.E. because we don’t have enough of those kinds of joints around, do we?