Eat Your heart out
First Taste: Brunch at RDG
Houston only gets about six weekends per year of ideal brunch weather — breezy and sunny but not too hot — so when they come, you've got to use them wisely. And from now on, that means including RDG + Bar Annie in your Sunday brunch plans.
For years customers begged Robert Del Grande for a weekend brunch and after two years on planning, he's finally obliged them. And his meticulous preparation has more than paid off. RDG's brunch menu is perhaps the best I've ever seen — varied but cohesive, true to Del Grande's Southwestern vision and ready to sate any morning craving.
The top of the menu has three suggestions of drinks and plates made to fit three distinct brunch profiles: Bloody Marys and smoked oysters, a grapefruit margarita and guacamole, and coffee and pastries, but like a true iconoclast I had to break the boundaries.
I start with a margarita (surprise!), made ready for morning by substituting fresh grapefruit for the lime. The acidity has the same smooth interplay with the tequila, with that sweet morning jolt that grapefruit is known for.
But when it comes to jolts, nothing holds a candle to the aforementioned oysters, smoked and served extra-spicy from a tin (hence "canned") with toasted bread. The only downside to the amazing oysters is how they completely outshone the spice on the serviceable potato and egg enchiladas. As far as south-of-the-border breakfasts go, I prefer Mimi's Rolled Tacos, a thin layer of refried black beans and scrambled eggs in corn tortillas, served with a refreshing avocado salad. But considering the wealth of amazing breakfast tacos around town, it seems something of a waste to overlook the other dishes on the menu for these.
Case in point? The phenomenally rich house-made lobster sausage, served as a patty, not a link, with super-creamy grits and poached eggs. And the must-order Sometimes Sunday Doughnuts, a half-dozen fluffy, cakey spheres covered in refined sugar, not glaze. The doughnuts were the only part of a large, incredible meal that I got territorial on, loudly announcing that my dining partner was "cut off" from them when he'd eaten exactly half and was eying one of mine. The rapturous face I made when biting into one was dubbed the "dough-gasm." So yes, they were tasty.
Is it the perfect brunch? From where I was sitting on RDG's terrace, it's pretty close.