Saturday, September 10, 2011

Ziggy's Bar and Grill

The Brunch Hunt kicked off with Ziggy's Bar and Grill (702 Main at Capitol, (713) 527-8588), a small, colorful cafe on Main Street that's just a 15-minute, leisurely walk from our apartment (it was 97 degrees out here today). Its shtick is healthy comfort food in a casual setting, and not too long ago it worked that philosophy on a weekend brunch, served Saturdays and Sundays from 11 am to 3 pm.

Now, the thing about downtown Houston is that, during the week, it's a bustling center thanks to its thriving business district. On the weekends — not so much. There's even an eerie ghost-town feel, thanks to several closed businesses. So when we entered Ziggy's and were the only customers at noon on Saturday, we weren't too concerned.

I'm a big coffee drinker at brunch, but being it was such a hot day to begin with, I ordered the iced variety, which, even though it's not a regular menu feature, the waitress was more than happy to accommodate. Stephen got his caffeine fix with some diet soda, which was refilled more times than I could count.

My brunch standby is the eggs Benedict —I'm always amazed at the creativity that the combination of meat, eggs, toast and hollandaise sauce can bring — so it was a natural for me to order here. It came with a choice of turkey bacon or sausage, two poached eggs over challah toast, and a choice of fruit, sweet potato hash browns or black beans and brown rice.
The meal was a disappointment. The hollandaise sauce was unmemorable, the turkey sausage I decided on looked unpleasantly like a small hamburger and was charred, the poached eggs had the consistency of hard-boiled eggs, and the "challah" it all was slopped on was basically whole wheat toast. The sweet potato has browns I chose were a minor bright spot, crispy and salty, though stringier and less together than I'd prefer.

Stephen went with one of his standbys, too — huevos rancheros. At Ziggy's, that means two eggs on corn tortillas with salsa and queso, honey pepper bacon and apple turkey sausage, and a side of black beans and brown rice.

The first disappointing sign was when the blue plate the meal came out on peeked through from between the food. The presentation was avoided to the point where the food was swimming in a teal sea. Stephen pushed forward, though he was a bit confused how to tackle this beast. Though it varies, we're used to the beans, rice, tortilla and eggs being all happy together in a tasty stack, so this was just unusual and he wound up adding the rice and beans to the tortilla, making for a sloppy mess. The turkey sausage continued to draw comparisons to a mini hamburger, and tasted as dry as it looked. And that little dipping sauce you see in the plastic cup was just plain bad.

Hungry as we were, we managed to pick at our food, but we were not happy. Endless glasses of diet Coke were not enough to make up for these sad, sad plates. The meals weren't as heavy as they can be, which was a nice change of pace, but were not nearly as flavorful as they should have been. That the cafe saw one other couple the time we were there this slow Saturday did not add to the atmosphere.

Verdict: Bad presentation, boring ingredients and overall tasteless healthy options will make us think twice about revisiting Ziggy's for brunch.

Top photo: Flickr/Ziggy's Bar and Grill.

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