Sunday, January 28, 2018

City Perch Kitchen + Bar Food Review

Brunch Burger at City Perch Kitchen + Bar

Considering iPic Theatres is our unequivocal choice for the best movie "experience" in town, part of me was genuinely looking forward to today's brunch at City Perch Kitchen + Bar at Pike & Rose. Although given the distance (10+ miles) and weather (mild, rainy) a positive review would require more than "greatness by association." Unfortunately, with the exception of one stellar employee and a piece of toast, I left shaking my head in disappointment.

Brunch starts with confusion. At the main entrance, which is (and always seems to be) locked. Turns out, you have to enter to the left, and travel via elevator to the third floor (where iPic Theatres is.) The confusion continued for yours truly, who had to wait over four minutes for a hostess (who never came.) I moved towards the bar, where I was ignored by the bartender for another couple of minutes, before meeting Ilianna. Ilianna took me back to the (still unmanned) host station to get me a menu and table. I asked for someplace private, but she warned me that the restaurant was pretty full. Luckily, there were two free tables in the lobby area, where I could get all the peace & quiet I desired. Thanks to Ilianna, my faith was restored... temporarily.

Ilianna asked me if I wanted anything to drink, and then immediately took my food order. The menu's a bit strange. Only four starters, with a $19.99 Brunch Box (bad name) and a few breakfast sides. The Brunch Box includes your choice of entree and any drink (coffee, juice, soda... even a mimosa) so I asked for the Brunch Burger (cooked medium, no cheese with candied bacon & a fried egg) an Over the Top Toast ($6) as well as two $4 sides (breakfast sausage, scrambled eggs) and an orange mimosa to wash it all down.

Over the Top Toast

Food took a while to arrive (21 minutes) but it gave me a chance to soak in City Perch's admirable ambiance. The entire restaurant is beautiful to behold, even if it is a little dark inside for a Sunday morning. Music (Sabrina Carpenter, Little Mix) is cool & trendy; and the overall noise level is (I'm happy to report) minimal, which allows for easy conversation. Based on looks alone, you likely won't be disappointed. Assuming you ever get seated.

Scrambled Eggs

The hostess eventually appeared, listlessly escorting "lucky" diners to the main dining room, while the unlucky ones waited (some for several minutes) for her to return. I realize hosting isn't an art per se, but some efficiency and enthusiasm would be appreciated.

Breakfast Sausage

When my food did arrive, it required multiple trips (by different servers.) First up, the Over the Top Toast, which is sized for sharing, and looks awfully smart all by its lonesome. It's a generous slice of toasted sourdough bread with butter and a house-made jam that would make J.M. Smucker blush with envy. Seriously, two slices of this only, and I would have left a happy man. Absolutely delicious. A minute later, the eggs and sausage arrived. And so the meal turned.

Overcooked. Merriam-Webster defines it as, "to cook (food) too much or for too long." I'm guessing the kitchen staff at City Perch has it circled and highlighted. Both the eggs and sausage were way overdone. The flavorless eggs visibly so, and rubbery to taste. But the wheels fell off with the driest, nastiest sausage links I've ever had the displeasure to consume. Zero flavor, and hard as a rock. I left one "open" to show Ilianna that I wasn't exaggerating. Pale grey in color, there wasn't an ounce of juice anywhere. Gross. To be fair, there were supposed to be only two eggs, but I clearly had three. Normally, that would be a good thing. In this case, obviously not.

As for the burger, it arrived seconds after the eggs and sausage, even though I asked for five minutes in between. It sat there for a bit, but I knew instantly (just by touching it) it was overdone. Ditto for the fried egg, which literally didn't break, even after I bit into it. The burger was well, well done (remember, I asked for medium) which means the cook either (A) doesn't know how to cook a simple burger or (B) doesn't care. Either way, that cook doesn't cook in my kitchen. Sadly, he or she will likely be back tomorrow to ruin someone else's lunch or dinner. Oddly enough, potatoes aren't on the menu (French fries, roasted, nada) so I had to settle for a mostly wilted mix of greens. Hmm, I wonder if they tried cooking the salad too. It wouldn't surprise me.

Lucky for City Perch, Ilianna couldn't have handled it any better. She apologized profusely, and offered to comp the meal (without a moment's pause.) That's when I told her I was there to write a review, and that she should charge me regardless. She returned a couple of minutes later, with more apologies and a check for the mimosa & toast only. Everything else, had been removed (even against my wishes.) That's above and beyond, in my book. If only she worked in the kitchen...

Atmosphere: B+ (Sexy interior, perfect for a late bite or drink.)
Breakfast Sides: F (Worst sausage ever and overdone, tasteless eggs?)
Burger: F (I managed only one bite... and I was very hungry. Horrible.)
Service: N/A (Ilianna was fantastic, but everyone else? Not.)
Value: N/A (Would have been an F, but I only had to pay for the two items I finished (and enjoyed.))
Overall: D (Again, another F, but Ilianna and the toast were terrific.)