Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lunch at the Breakfast Club

On January 1, 2005, Pat and Heather Grimm, with over sixty-seven combined years experience in restaurants and management, began renovations on what was a Rexall Pharmacy adjoined by the Waters Department Store in Lowell, NM. Less than four months later, the Bisbee Breakfast Club restaurant opened its doors.

The restaurant’s decor, with its tin ceiling, exposed brick, old linoleum floor, modern lighting, and exposed ductwork, can only be described as early twentieth century meets industrial loft.

Open Thursday to Monday from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., the restaurant is like many we have found in smaller urban areas. Given that our waiter hugged every other customer who entered, the clientele appears to be mostly local. The owner/chef spends time at the counter talking with customers.

And the standard menu doesn’t break new ground. The breakfast offerings include pancakes, French toast, omelets, and eggs in combination with ham, bacon, sausage, a burger patty, chicken fried steak, and corn beef hash. Lunch items include salads, burgers, wraps, and Rueben, chicken breast, chicken salad, and BLT sandwiches. It is with the daily specials that that kitchen gets to flex its creative muscles.

The current week’s specials are posted on the web, and the breakfast specials for the current week (depending on the day of the week) include: Eggs Darlene--two scrambled eggs with smoked ham, jack-cheddar and cream cheese and served with hash browns, toast or biscuit; a Breakfast Quesadilla--two eggs scrambled with bacon, tomato, olives and onions in a large spinach tortilla with melted jack-cheddar cheese and served with hash browns and salsa; and Potato Pancakes with two eggs served with sausage or bacon, toast or biscuit, sour cream and apple sauce.

On Sunday, they don’t hold back, offering three breakfast specials: a Belgian Waffle topped with blood orange sauce, whipped cream, and powdered sugar; Pineapple Upside Down Cakes with a side of two eggs cooked to order; and a Carnitas Scramble--two scrambled eggs with shredded pork, green onions, and melted jack-cheese and served with hash browns, toast or biscuit.

If you were dining at the Breakfast Club for lunch this week you might be able choose: the J-Allen Burger—an Angus beef pattie topped with bacon, jalapeno, melted pepper-jack cheese and your choice of side dish; Fish and Chips--Icelandic cod fillets “cut by Chef Pat, battered with his fresh beer-batter fried in zero trans fat oil to a crisp, hot, golden brown..., our house tartar sauce, fries, lemon and malt vinegar (go ahead take a mouth trip to San Francisco or the East Coast famous for their fish and chips);” Blackened Shrimp Salad with kiwi BBQ sauce—field greens with tomato, boiled egg, pepper-jack cheese, Cajun seasoned shrimp drizzled with kiwi BBQ sauce; or a Shrimp and Avocado Sandwich—open-face on grilled herbed flat bread with shrimp, avocado, and tomato on mixed greens.

On our visit, Chuck ordered the cheese burger with a half order of fries and half order of onion rings. (We wish more restaurants offered that option.) The burger tasted good, but had that same fine soft texture that we found in other southern Arizona restaurants. The fries and rings came frozen from a bag. How do I know this? I saw a kitchen helper come out with large Kraft paper bags containing said fries and rings. Still, they were hot, crisp, and greaseless.

I, on the other hand, went with the day’s special wrap—grilled and shredded breast of chicken, mango chutney, chopped mango, and shredded romaine lettuce on a large flour tortilla that had been spread with a house made jimaca mayo. I am normally not fond of wraps, nor am I fond of fruit with meat. So why did I order this? I am not sure, but am certainly glad I did. The wrap was delicious. The tortilla and shredded chicken were still warm and the crunch of the romaine gave texture to the rest of the fillings. And Chef Pat used just enough chutney and chopped mango to give a faint sweet flavor without being cloying.

The Bisbee Breakfast Club makes all its desserts in house. We ordered a slice of the banana cream pie only to learn that someone had just purchased the entire last pie. So we had to settle for the coconut cream. As you can tell from the accompanying photo, this was not a sacrifice. Sitting on a thin and light crust, the vanilla cream was chock full of coconut and was topped with a mound of a sweet vanilla topping that wasn’t whipped cream nor was it meringue.

Looking at the specials board for the next day, I saw that one of the breakfast specials was the New Orleans Andouille Scramble. This was two scrambled eggs with andouille sausage and jack cheese sitting on a bed of hash browns, covered with Cajun Cream Sauce and served with toast or biscuit. Man did that sound good. Too bad its eighty-one miles from Tucson to Bisbee.

I would give my wrap a solid 4.0 Addies, but Chuck’s burger only earns a 3.0 Addies. It was the pie that tipped the balance and gave the Bisbee Breakfast Club its overall 4.0 Addie rating.

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