Monday, November 15, 2010

Aaron Mayers & The Red Carpet at Manny's Uptown Kitchen...

Work and play go well together, right? Right! On this particular Thursday morning, Breakfast In Austin decided to visit locally owned Manny's Uptown Kitchen on Research Boulevard & 360, near Crate & Barrel and Whole Foods in the Gateway Shopping Center. There was definitely something different about this breakfast extravaganza. This was the first time I'd invited a client to partake in my feasting for the purpose of Breakfast In Austin. I'd also been encouraged through Manny's on Twitter to say "hello" to the Owner. I went back & forth on making contact, but what a mixed blessing that turned out to be. My typical style is to dine unannounced, soliciting nothing from ownership or management. The only thing that gives Breakfast In Austin away is the flash of a Nikon and even then I might be tagged only as an odd tourist or a nameless critic.

Reviewing should be authentic, right? If Breakfast In Austin accepts all the generosity an Owner provides, like endless plates and a free tab, then how do I supply unbiased comments? I want a Server who isn't on his best behavior. Was Owner, Aaron Mayers showcasing his best dishes? YES! Was Owner, Aaron Mayers a gracious and friendly host? Of course! Was Owner, Aaron Mayers hoping to position me for a glowing review? Hmmm. Possibly. I will say that in accepting the tour of Manny's dishes, I let the Owner know that I always search out a restaurant's "pros," supply honest commentary and would pick up my own tab. In the end, Aaron Mayers insisted on comping our meal. Breakfast In Austin feeling humble and full, accepted, vowing to remain unbiased.

The breakfast items? After showing slight hesitation when being asked what we'd like to eat, Aaron recommended and presented a string of dishes created to showcase Manny's unique East Coast style. My client, not expecting the Breakfast In Austin angle, rolled with the punches and dove into each dish with me! Thanks, Paul for being such a sport.

The first? A dessert! The impressive Izzy's Blintzes were prepared with a traditional soft farm fresh cheese and topped with fresh strawberries, a berry glaze and powdered sugar. Appealing to the senses with a delicate blend of subtle and sweet, this was an ideal roll-out choice and hit.

Our next delivered item was Manny's Bagel & Lox. The Alaskan in me adores a cured salmon filet, so it's not often that this stand-out doesn't satisfy. In Manny's presentation, I experienced a mixture of flavors including a plain and rather lackluster New York bagel, topped with a thin layer of cream cheese, thinly sliced lox, tomato, lettuce, red onion and capers. Overall, a satisfying attempt, but I've had better lox and prefer a softer more flavorful bagel. My client, Paul, recommended an everything or seasoned bagel would add more zest.

The third dish of Uptown Hash was perhaps our most interesting because of the plated variety. Already feeling full and giggling like kids, Paul and I wondered how in the hell we were going to stomach this barrage of food. Gorgeous in presentation and ultimately my clients favorite, we enjoyed two perfectly fried eggs atop an inventive hash of onion, bell peppers, corned beef & pastrami. As if this wasn't enough our sides included two potato pancakes and toast with whipped butter. The potato pancakes were a new experience for Breakfast In Austin. I loved the taste but the cakes were so filling I could only eat a few bites.

Next up? Manny's Pan-Roasted Spinach, Mushroom and Swiss Omelet. This was by far my favorite first bite of the morning and mind you, Paul and I were completely and utterly full. If you're a fan of these ingredients, I highly recommend this savory and memorable creation...

...and finally, the last item! Stomachs stunned and taste buds nearly shot, Aaron Mayers presented Grandma's Streudel in all her apple, raisin, cinnamon and sugary splendor. I'm convinced Grandma was dutifully baking in Manny's kitchen equipped with her hairnet and apron. An amazing dessert made to order and in less than 15 minutes - a suitable way to end our experience at Manny's Uptown Kitchen.

A big thank you to Aaron Mayers and his staff at Manny's Uptown Kitchen for an enjoyable two hour experience. There is a dish for everyone at Manny's, so if you haven't been and are looking for a new breakfast joint - this might be a new find for you...

...and Aaron, I hope you do make good on adding a worthy Eggs Benedict that will knock my socks off. Breakfast In Austin will be back.

It's all about the feast, not the famine!

To find out more about Manny's Uptown Kitchen, check them out at:

Even BETTER? Breakfast All Day!

Pros: Breakfast all day, desserts (blintzes & streudel) are amazing, inventive dishes, quick turn in kitchen, service, good location in NW Austin, all breakfast items under $10
Cons: Not a fan of your NY bagel and it's something you hang your hat on! Not a fan of the hash either...
Suggestions: Work on improving your lox & bagel dish (it has all the right components but better lox? better bagel?)

Manny's Uptown Kitchen ~ 9503 Research Blvd., Suite 650, Austin, TX 78759 ~ 512.794.0088