Morning brunch review
Let me make one thing abundantly clear, I am anything but a morning person. Until I have consumed my own body weight in tea each morning, it is best to steer well clear of me. I’m also not a breakfast foods person, give me a gyro over eggs, cereal, or toast any day of the week. Given these circumstances, the idea of brunch is akin to some kind of terrible torture as far as I’m concerned. I visualize sunny restaurants teeming with bright, perky, pre-caffeinated people all happily engaged in pleasantries, while I sit in my dark English cloud, struggling even to read the the menu.
As they say though, opposites attract, and thus Wendi loves brunch. For the sake of a happy marriage, every now and then I cave in and agree to join her for the meal that’s not really breakfast and not really lunch. Our most recent such adventure occurred at Oasis Cafe. Oasis is a restaurant we had last visited many moons ago for lunch. I vaguely remember it being a good meal, so I grudgingly agreed to give the place a spin for brunch.
I should explain the concept of the Oasis Cafe at this stage for the uninitiated. Attached to the Golden Braid bookshop, its a restaurant with an ethical and moral bent. Profits from both operations go to the “Reach The Children” campaign in Africa. Vegan and Vegetarians are well catered for, but meat eaters aren’t left in the cold either. It’s obvious everything is made fresh on site, with an eye on healthy eating. Thankfully, in our past experience Oasis Cafe had managed to pull all of this off.
Our recent Brunch started around noon on a Sunday morning. Your curmudgeonly writer was in a predictably poor frame of mind. Much to my surprise though, without a reservation, we were seated at a table within minutes. Things looked promising. Maybe I could do this after all. Our waiter was quick to the table, as was our coffee ($1.80) which we instantly tasked him with delivering (I should probably apologize if I scowled at any point while ordering). Oasis Cafe has an extensive range of teas (green, black, herbal, organic) and various coffee brews to chose from too. We just went with their standard French roast, and mighty fine (strong!) it was too. Service proved to be very attentive and quick throughout the meal. Our coffee mugs were kept full and warm and we weren’t chastised when our dining companions failed to show (we has asked for a table for four and it ended up being just the two of us).
As the coffee kicked in, I started eying the menu, which was broken into two distinct sections, one for breakfast foods and one for more lunch-like fare. Wendi opted for the breakfast side of things and chose the Benedict Florentine ($9.75) with Crab Cakes ($3.50)
Wendi found the eggs to be very nicely poached if perhaps just a tad underdone (a little running of the whites, but nearly perfect). The traditional Hollandaise sauce was satisfyingly rich and creamy. Wendi suspected the crab cakes, at only an additional $1.75 each, may have been made with tinned crab meat, but didn’t find that to be an issue considering the great price. Overall, she really enjoyed the dish, which came served with a side of breakfast potatoes. I stole a bite of the potatoes and was impressed. All too often they can be greasy or under cooked. These were just right, and as such, I was politely asked to stop stealing bites.
Eschewing the array of breakfast items (surprise!), I went with the lunch side of the menu and chose the Grilled Albacore Tuna Steak Sandwich ($10.25):
I will be honest, my expectations weren’t super high. With my morning brain not working I just picked randomly and the menu description sounded slightly odd to me. The sandwich was a revelatory experience though, it turned my morning completely around. The meaty shiitake mushrooms were fantastic with the tuna, which was cooked exactly as ordered (medium rare). A creamy and salty miso aioli topped the whole affair. It was a really enjoyable and unexpected delight. The only slight issue was that the kaiser roll started to disintegrate under the heft of meat and sauce towards the end. The Asian slaw salad on the side was nothing particularly astounding, but was dressed with a decent acidic bite.
As I chomped eagerly through my sandwich, in the relaxed surroundings of Oasis Cafe, I contemplated the possibility of brunching more often. Oasis Cafe certainly put some pep and verve into my morning. I left feeling energized and particularly positive as we headed off for our dreaded Sunday grocery shop. I’m far from converted, but with great food and all the great karmic vibes on offer from Oasis Cafe, maybe I could just “do brunch” a little more often.
151 South 500 East, Salt Lake City, UT 84102-1906
Hi, I’m Stuart, nice to meet you! I’m the founder, writer and wrangler at Gastronomic SLC and The Utah Review; I’m also a former restaurant critic of more than five years, working for the Salt Lake Tribune. I’ve worked extensively with other local publications from Utah Stories through to Salt Lake Magazine and Visit Salt Lake.
I’m a multiple-award winning journalist and have covered the Utah dining scene for more than a decade. I’m largely fueled by Uinta Cutthroat, alliteration and the use of too many big words I don’t understand. I ate all the pies.