after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

Meme’s Brunch is Meh …

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t says: It was mighty cold over the weekend, so g and I forewent our usual Sunday brunch trip to Cochon and we went to go check out Meme instead. Let’s get to it!

12/2010, Sunday AM, Party of 2. We sat down and I was torn by the menu. Do I go starch, or do I go “something else”. g convinced me that going for the cornmeal pancakes was basically dooming Meme for failure, as clearly they wouldn’t be able to surpass Cochon. So I instead went for their Brussels sprouts and bacon with a “side” of a biscuit and sausage gravy. g went for the steak and eggs special (it was either that or the omelette).

The place was kind of empty, so we expected the food to be out in a dizzying speed … we were wrong. So g and I made chit-chat while we looked around and wondered why we hadn’t quite gotten around to eating brunch at Meme sooner – after all – it was so close to where we live.

Before the food came out, we smelled the Brussels sprouts. Mmmmmmm. One of the fun benefits of an open kitchen. As our plates appeared, we dug right in. The Brussels sprouts were quite good. Not as well seasoned as the ones we’ve had at Barbuzzo, but that’s likely because the nice piece of breaded-and-friend bacon was sitting next to it. Ahhh. Brussels sprouts and bacon. It’d be hard for this dish to not be successful. The bottom of the bacon was a little tough (I’m not sure why), but it wasn’t anything I couldn’t chew through, so I wasn’t complaining.

Unfortunately, that’s where the deliciousness died and my mental complaining began … The sausage gravy I had was fine, but it was no better than any standard sausage gravy that any diner in South Jersey could pull off. Furthermore, kp’s gravy put this one to shame. Bigtime. Yes, he is our resident expert of “the South”, but his access to equipment and ingredients has to be less than Meme – and Meme couldn’t quite muster the flavors to surpass him. And then the biscuit … it was about one notch above a Pillsbury Grands biscuit, which puts it squarely at “mediocre” in my book (I’m sorry if everyone loves Pillsbury Grands biscuits – they’re just not as good as the cinnamon rolls). So why am I dissing the biscuits? Well, to be honest, it just left me puzzled. Where’s the flavor? Where’s the flakiness? Where’s the buttery moist center? None to be found.

g’s steak was not much better in terms of taste … or execution … or appearance. First off, it tasted like cow. That’s it. It was clearly underseasoned and wasn’t accompanied by any pan sauces or drippings or anything to suggest that the chef did anything more to it than take it out of the fridge and stick it on the grill. And it showed just by looking at the poor piece of NY strip – it wasn’t that dark caramel-colored brown that steaks normally get, rather, an anemic, acholic brown (not a typo) – very weird. And then the execution: the thick part was way undercooked. This was surprising.  You see, g and I routinely order our steaks medium at restaurants until we trust that they can execute steaks consistently enough to pull off a medium rare … here’s a prime example of a failure: g’s medium steak was downright rare at the thickest part. Fortunately, by the time she got to that part, she had had enough of the steak so we weren’t going to go through the hassle of having to send it back to get it cooked a little more. (As a sidenote, I wonder if you could send back a steak because it tastes boring?) At the end of the meal, g wished she had ordered the omelette (which we saw go out to another table, but really, even that looked like an omelette we could have made at home). Of course, she’s not so rude as to admit such a thing to another person out loud, but I saw it in her eyes.

g says: I feel compelled to step in here for a moment and express how very disappointing my dish was. First of all, steak and eggs was one of the -specials- of the day, which led me to believe that it would be aptly named. t described the steak already, but I must also admit that the other items on my plate were pretty sub-par as well. The potatoes were underseasoned, and the fried egg was gross. That’s right. The yolk was cooked enough that it was no longer runny, yet the white was half rubbery and half a clear/gooey/snot-like mess. Oh, and also unseasoned.

It’s funny – when our server delivered our food, she asked me if I needed ketchup or hot sauce for my meal. I responded with my usual “no thank you,” as I expected that the chef would have seasoned everything to his liking. Perhaps I should have taken her up on her offer… End note.

t says: Conclusion … Meme’s breakfast was kind of “meh” – we might try the Brussels sprouts if we absolutely had to go back. I sure hope that dinner is far more spectacular, especially given the praise that Meme got from Philly mag and our friends. But for brunch, we’re probably not going back voluntarily. Sorry Meme. We’d rather go to nearby Sandy’s, where there is absolutely no intention of trying to do anything “special” – just plain homemade food. At least that way, we get what we expect (well, unless you order the “hot Italian sausage”, right sr?).


Written by afterdinnersneeze

23 December 2010 at 5:56pm

Posted in in Philadelphia, Restaurant Reviews

Tagged with ,

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