Atlas has begun serving brunch, and, in Bryan Carr's usual style, the menu is downright seductive. The bistro, with its shady sidewalk for tables and large windows for morning sun, is a fine setting for morning food (although there are some options for lunching, including their excellent simple green salad).
Yes, thanks, we'll have some of that excellent coffee to kick things off. Mimosa choices? Classic, grapefruit or mimosa du jour, which on this visit was a berry-based combination. And the juices are freshly-squeezed; it's particularly apparent with grapefruit juice, whose frozen iteration is alwayswretched. The grapefruit mimosa (or maybe it's actually a wisteria?) was perfect, the juices' light bitterness riding the house prosecco perfectly. The berry version, sweeter, of course, was also a happy discovery.
Just to tide us over until the main courses came, we tried the beignets, six fat, irregular deepfried blobs, showered lightly with powdered sugar and served with a spiced berry preserve, tasting of cloves. Even without the preserves, they're good, and one of my pals tried buttering them to gild the lily.
How can one brunch without eggs Benedict? The menu calls them classic, and that's exactly what arrived. The English muffins were fresh, the eggs perfectly cooked, a generous piece of ham rather than Canadian bacon, and a fine hollandaise sauce, rich and lemony, very nice indeed.
Carr's French training shows with that hollandaise, but pancakes were granny, rather than French, thick, fluffy pillows, in this case cradling slices of banana and pieces of crunchy pecans. The bacon alongside seemed artisanal, the slices irregular, a little chewy, not heavily salty but nicely smoked. Even better was a daily special of chicken-apple sausage, a moist, irregular patty full of flavor. And potatoes? I thought you'd never ask. Red potatoes, cooked to tenderness, and nicely seasoned, the sort of thing that would serve with a couple of over-easy eggs as a complete and satisfying entree.
More proof of the granny influence comes with the biscuits and gravy. The biscuits, which are also available a la carte, are square, fluffy, and probably would crumble immediately if someone tried to butter then with cold butter. Plenty of sausage and black pepper in the gravy, too, enough to convert the unbeliever, not that there were any around.
Calm, pleasant service and, obviously, good food.
5513 Pershing Ave.
Credit cards: Yes
Wheelchair access: Good
Brunch entrees: $6-$11