Union Street Cafe

Union Street Cafe does not serve the best biscuits and gravy I’ve ever eaten. That honor goes to a now-defunct incarnation of the Uranium Cafe in Grants, N.M., which used to serve enormous, tender, fluffy biscuits and rich cream gravy with distinct bacon overtones.

But Union Street Cafe is definitely the first runner-up.

I’m not a fan of sausage gravy, for several reasons. First, there’s something I find vaguely revolting about gravy with chunks in it. Second, too many cooks seem to think the term “sausage gravy” is derived from an ancient Indian expression meaning “empty the pepper shaker into the pan before serving.” And third, it’s been my experience that sausage gravy is what people make when they haven’t mastered the art of cream gravy and are trying to compensate for their shortcomings by distracting the customer: “This gravy suc– heeeeeyyyy, look! A piece of MEAT!”

There’s nothing the cook could have done about my personal hangups, but as sausage gravy goes, this was better than most: The gravy itself was pretty good, neither the gravy nor the sausage suffered from pepper overload, and the biscuits themselves were so wonderful that they more than made up for the indignity of finding sausage in the bowl of gravy that accompanied them.

The rest of my breakfast was great, too: sugar-cured bacon; delicately crispy hash browns; buttery scrambled eggs cooked nice and firm, just the way I like them; and decaf that actually tasted like coffee.

The service was slower than I like (it took us a good 20 minutes to get our food), but in their defense, the servers were trying to keep up with a pretty hefty breakfast crowd that included a healthy contingent of customers who seemed to be on a first-name basis with the help — always a promising sign. As we waited for our breakfast, the waitresses made sure to keep my cup topped off, which made the wait more tolerable.

Situated at 4359 S. Union Ave., in a small strip mall a few blocks north of I-44 (in the old Carbondale neighborhood), Union Street Cafe serves what the manager’s business card calls “comfort food” from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday and 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

Value: A-
Service: B+
Convenience: B-
Food: A
Overall: B+

~ by redforkhippie on February 4, 2007.

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