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Reviews of brunch dishes.

The Brunch Dish: Ada Street Adds Brunch

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[Photograph: Chelsea Ross]

Nowadays it's becoming a freakish anomaly when a restaurant doesn't serve brunch. The latest acquisition for #TeamBrunch is Ada Street, my favorite in the very niche category of clandestine restaurants in industrial corridors. This is one place I'm accustomed to solely in the dark of night, so it's a bit of an adjustment to eat here in the light of day. Aside from being a lot more docile and leisurely than the twilight hours, Ada Street's brunch tends towards larger plates and more familiar flavors, albeit ones jazzed up with chef Zoe Schor's intrinsic verve for modernity. It's just the contemporary boost brunch needs.

The preeminent example of Schor's dexterous whimsy is her corned beef hash Scotch egg ($9). Basically it's a Scotch egg breaded in corned beef and potato flakes and deep-fried in gluttonous dreams. It's pub grub meets breakfast diner, and it encapsulates everything Ada Street's brunch menu is all about, updating classic flavors without bastardizing them. That's a tough thing to execute well. Although sheathed in a thick blanket of corned beef and potatoes, the Scotch egg is lighter than typical variations, with the fluffy potatoes serving to mellow it out a bit. They're fried perfectly, leaving a whisper-thin layer of crunch on the patina that gives way to creamy, beefy innards, and a tender egg nucleus with a lush gelatinous yolk. Quite possibly this is the best breakfast food known to man.

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Another great example of Schor's classic-meets-contemporary brunch stylings is the BL(fg)T ($10), an a.m. riff on a good ol' fashioned BLT, pimped out with a handful of novel additions. All the requisites are in place on a sturdy, flour-y potato bun, with crispy strips of bacon, romaine lettuce, and in lieu of standard tomatoes, fried green ones, giving the sandwich a charming Southern twang. Compounded with the crispy bacon and lettuce, this is probably the crispiest thing since Shake N Bake. There's also a smear of Ninja Turtle-green avocado crema and a fried egg, both of which weirdly get lost amidst the savorous flurry. It's a mess to eat, and exceedingly decadent, but an inventive riff on the breakfast sandwich formula.

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For "dessert," it doesn't get any richer than the pretzel bread pudding ($9). Those averse to sweet or salty flavors at all should sign a waver, because this thing is a flavor grenade. Served in mini skillets, the bread pudding is dense, gooey, and over-the-top in all the wrong ways that feel so right. It tastes like someone chopped up a bunch of Auntie Anne's most buttery, salty pretzels and baked them together in a treacly custard. The whole thing is crowned with a whopping dome of maple whipped cream and sprinkled with an ample dosage of crackly bacon morsels, just to remind you this is brunch. This is not for the faint of heart.

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Be it corned beef hash, an egg sandwich, or the classic combo of bacon and maple, Ada Street's new brunch menu is brimming with novel iterations of morning staples. It's rare to stumble upon a brunch menu as invigorating as this one, elevating classic ideas without completely abandoning their original integrity.

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