Brunch at the Stubborn Goat
Brunch is sadly not a weekly affair for me, so I regret to admit that I am not a brunch specialist. I swear that I’m working on it, in between burger week, pizza quests and sandwich sampling. I am a busy blogger! … and I haven’t had a source of income since last October, so there’s that.
I had been hearing good things about the brunch at The Stubborn Goat, so I rounded up a couple of hungover friends who drove the whole 3 blocks down the street to avoid the offensive weather, and then proceeded to circle around downtown Halifax, effectively spending triple the amount of time looking for parking than our total time commuting. This is why it is ridiculous to own a car if you live in downtown Halifax – at least, if you intend on driving somewhere downtown.
We finally got situated at The Stubborn Goat, and ordered the “Loaded Fries” to start.
The menu described this as “Loaded Fries: smoked salmon, poached egg, Hollandaise” – so naturally, I expected a dish of fries with smoked salmon, poached egg and Hollandaise. What we got was basically an eggs benny on top of French fries. The poached egg and salmon were sitting on top of what I think was a piece of foccaccia.
I don’t get it. Why would you put a piece of bread on top of French fries? Don’t we want the egg yolk and Hollandaise to ooze and leak all over the fries creating a decadent messy masterpiece?
We sliced up the “Benny” and transported our shares to our plates. The fries underneath were practically untouched by saucy goodness. I don’t get it.
With that said, the Hollandaise sauce was delicious – thick and creamy with just the right touch of lemon. The smoked salmon was fantastic. I’m usually underwhelmed by smoked salmon, but this stuff grabbed my attention.
The verdict? This dish would be great if they deconstructed it as an Eggs Benedict with a side of fries. Or better yet – let’s see a breakfast poutine!
My friend Emily probably wouldn’t have ordered a Benny had she known about the identity crisis of the Loaded Fries. However, the Benny delivered the same tasty elements without pretending to be something that it’s not.
The Stubborn Goat offers 4 types of Eggs Benedict: Oulton’s smoked bacon, wilted spinach with garlic & Brie, avocado & chilies, and the smoked salmon that we readily devoured earlier. They were served with French fries. This sort of defies the rules of brunch, but these are damn good French fries. The Benny came on house-made biscuits, which is great. My only complaint was that the biscuits weren’t warm enough, and cooled down the dish.
My intention on this brunch voyage was to try the chicken and waffles. This curious combination is an American soul food staple, but the no frills comfort food has been obscure, if even present, in Canadian cuisine. It has been on my radar for a while now, but I have never actually tried it. Of course, here in Nova Scotia we tend to be exposed to the “gourmet” or “fusion” versions of regional foods as they “catch on”, without ever having the opportunity to experience the original. Chicken and waffles is no exception.
Expect to see more of it.
As I said, I am no connoisseur of chicken and waffles. That would be impossible without a great deal of southern exposure. So I will just use the ‘ol “This tastes good / This tastes bad” scale.
This tasted good. The “buttermilk, corn crusted chicken” was crispy and seasoned. The chipotle cream (the condiment of choice these days) was tasty as ought to be expected. The smoked bacon and corn salsa diversified the dish, contributing flavour and texture. (Cilantro-haters be warned – the menu fails to mention this bane of your existence). The waffles were soft and pliable. quite capable of cradling the other ingredients as would a taco. They had a sweetness that somehow complimented the chipotle and chicken seasoning. The portion was sizeable, and did not come with French fries as did the Eggs Benedict.
The highlight of my meal was definitely the smoked salmon, the Hollandaise and the French fries. You can get all three if you order the smoked salmon Benny. Or – you can wander boldly into uncharted chicken & waffle territory for something a little different.
The best thing about brunch at The Stubborn Goat is that I didn’t see a pot of coffee the whole time. I’m not saying they don’t have coffee. I honestly did not ask. We were given delightful cucumber waters, and a drink menu. This was a very encouraging excuse to have a nice big beer with my brunch. So I say Prost! It’s 5 o’clock somewhere…