It was a leisurely Saturday and after having slept in, we were looking for a breakfast restaurant that offered bacon and eggs beyond the "normal" hours. Having heard good things about them, and wanting to try something new for brunch, we decided to visit Sunny Side of the Street, on FM 2920 in Spring. The menu at Sunny Side of The Street isn't as large as some other places like IHOP or Denny's, but this also isn't one of those chains were everything is shipped in and has to be the same at every location, either. Sunny Side is an independent, breakfast/brunch/lunch restaurant that has the potential to become a mainstay in the community. And as an independent, has the opportunity to modify items for that community.
From from what we have seen on their Facebook page, the owner, Tony, has been making at least some upgrades to the interior of what was previously Las Lomas Mexican Restaurant - replacing the tables and red bench seats at the booths, and adding a fresh coat of paint on the walls. Not that the decor is terribly important - but usually, restaurateurs want remove the traces of a previously closed dining enterprise and make it their own as soon as possible. Sunny Side of The Street has only been open since April of this year, and as you can see on their Facebook page, they have been updating some of their entrées as well, when compared to what we had.
There were only two other occupied tables when we arrived around 1:30 - one of them nearly completed and the second was enjoying their StarCrack while they waited for their entrées. The table were we sat, the table next to us, and the bench upon which I sat were not exactly clean, and neither was the floor near where we sat. This isn't to say that the tables were actually dirty, at least not with markings you might see having been left by a messy diner, but were covered with granules of sugar or salt, possibly from having refilled the salt shakers? The bench, however, had a wide assortment of previously edible debris to the extent of adding a shade of gray to the surface of my napkin when I wiped an area for which to sit. That along with the dirt on the floor persuaded me along the lines of thinking that maybe the previous diner had just finished an overnight shift at the plant where he works. Neither of these things were enough to create a sense of alarm, we couldn't say if this was a sign of having been very busy before we arrived or a poor sense of house cleaning, it was our first visit after all.
The fresh baked muffins ($3 each) are one example of what they have recently modified and we found them to be very good. The Death by Chocolate and the Orange Cranberry muffins are soft and crumbly and, just like many other pastries, best when served warm. Taking that one step further, Sunny Side splits and lightly grills the muffins, then adds their own creamy concoctions - turning them into a delicious treat for the taste buds. Our only issue with them was that they were so delicate they nearly fall apart when attempting to coax them onto your fork. As good as they are, you just want to get them in your mouth ASAP & when they won't stay on the fork, or split when you stab them... well, it's just frustrating. But flavor-wise? We wouldn't change a thing about them.
I think I've stated before that I'm always game for French toast, but since I'm sure our readers would like a little variety in our breakfast reviews, I thought I'd give the Blueberry Pancakes ($6 for three, no sides) a try, instead. Besides, I love fresh blueberries, especially wild ones. Unfortunately, I was disappointed from the moment my plate appeared. First, it seemed obvious to me that the blueberries in my pancakes - though they might have been wild - were either canned or frozen (see my reference photos below). You can generally tell by the uniformly tiny size of the berries, and the excessive amount of juices. I was also saddened to see the blueberries all clumped together in the center of each pancakes - a simple mistake made by not stirring the batter or "swirling" it as it's ladled onto the grill. The problem with this is that the pancakes end up soggy (even more so with the addition of the excessive juices) and under-cooked in the center, while all but flavorless around the outside edges where there are no berries. That lack of flavor was only intensified by the utter blandness of the pancakes themselves. These were dull, flat, and completely absent of any flavor-boosting additions, such as vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg or ginger. And without the use of some leavening (baking soda or powder) and activating ingredients (lemon juice), they were thin and chewy, rather than fluffy. Ultimately, I gave up after just a few bites and opted for a replacement.
Our waitress was extremely polite and apologetic regarding my disappointment with the pancakes, assuring me that she would pass my thoughts along to the kitchen staff and manager. Somewhere in our conversation, however, some wires got crossed, and though I asked for a Belgian waffle as my replacement meal (I'd remembered how beautiful they looked on Sunny Side's Facebook page), I somehow ended up with French Toast.
So like I said above, I'm always game for some French Toast - and what she brought me looked so appealing, I figured I'd just roll with the happy accident. The French Toast ($7, no sides), is described on the menu as being made with "Texas toast dipped in cream batter with a hint of cinnamon, served with fresh fruit and topped with whipped or cinnamon butter." You can see when looking at the pancakes above and then at the French toast, the blueberries on the French toast are quite clearly of the fresh, high bush (domestic) variety - in fact, all the fruits (blueberries, strawberries and bananas) were very fresh, and truly the best part of my French toast experience at Sunny Side of The Street. Alas, if the "cream batter" was supposed to have had a "hint of cinnamon," it was only the tiniest of hints, as it, too, was lackluster and rather bland. Add to that the butter being plain vs. cinnamon (our waitress never asked which type I would prefer) and that my stomach just can't tolerate artificial maple syrup,* once I'd finished off the bites of toast accompanied by fruits, I decided I was done.
* To their credit, Sunny Side of The Street's menu clearly states We serve "maple" flavored syrup. For the maple syrup enthusiasts, we provide 1.25 oz of pure grade A real maple syrup for $1.00. I could have asked for some, but didn't. In my opinion, a French toast platter consisting of only two slices of Texas toast, a quarter banana, three strawberries and a dozen blueberries, leaves more than enough room in the bottom line to be served with real maple syrup, sans up-charge, and numerous restaurants of both chain and independent variety do so.
I opted for a Three-Egg Omelette ($7 with one additional ingredient), country potatoes, and wheat toast. The menu states a "potato hash" which makes me think "hash brown potatoes," but there were more like what I have always considered to be "country potatoes" (sounds more appealing to me, too). Aside from what you want to call them, they were pretty good; some of the best I've had in quite some time actually. Fried up with what appears to be onion, green pepper, a little seasoned salt, black pepper, and some parsley garnish, they boast a great flavor that went well with my omelette. Some of the potatoes had one side or another slightly over cooked but they didn't taste burned, though I suspect that they might have been sitting in a warming oven or under a heat lamp rather then being freshly cooked. As mentioned earlier, my omelette only started at $7, but I wanted a bit more than ham, so my omelette topped out at $10 after adding tomato, onion, and (a mild) cheddar cheese. While a dollar each might seem a bit pricey for extras, they weren't just thrown in on top without being sautéed, and the portions were generous, resulting in a pleasing melody of flavor. The eggs were cooked up fluffy and dry without being over-done, offering a nice, soft texture.
Overall, our server was attentive and informed, and the food arrived in a timely manner. By way of offering further apologies for the pancakes and then Waffle/French Toast mix-up, she also offered to let us sample the restaurant's coffee, on the house. If you're the type that likes your coffee stout, then Sunny Side of The Street has you covered. The coffee is full-bodied and strong, though pleasantly non-bitter.
As we were somewhat split in our likes and dis-likes of our meals, we haven't yet decided how soon we'll want to revisit the Sunny Side of The Street - we just hope the next time around, the day can be slightly less "overcast."
Have you dined at Sunny Side? What was your favorite part of your meal? Anything you didn't care for? Tell us in the comments below.
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September, 2016 - The upscale eatery became the site of a memorial for Chef Adrianus Michael Kusuma, 33, who was gunned down during a home invasion in an affluent part of the Houston suburb (Spring Texas).