The Brunch Chronicles: Pier 247's Southern-Cajun Brunch Is Awash in a Sea of Gravy
Crab cake Benedict and home-fried potatoes.
Pier 247's brunch menu uses the words "creamy" and "grits" on six separate occasions, while "bacon" appears seven times. One dish, in fact, manages to capture all three: the chicken-fried chicken biscuit sandwich, which comes smothered in bacon Creole sauce, served with a side of creamy cheese grits. Using the preceding information, one can infer without ever crossing the threshold at Oak Cliff's Pier 247 that the brunch food is not, shall we say, Vinyasa-friendly. Cheat day-friendly? Definitely. Trans-fatty-acids-are-a-lifestyle-choice food? You betcha. More delicious than a bucket of gravy on a cold winter morn? Yes, it is.
Pier 247 occupies what used to be an old gas station in the Bishop Arts District. The bones of the building are still there, but now picnic tables replace filling pumps and plasma screens line the walls. The aesthetic tends toward sports bar, and when there's live music outside — as is often the case during brunching hours — the volume will feel either lively or oppressive depending on your stimuli tolerance. The patio also affords a prime view of the funeral home across the street, because nothing says #Sundayfunday like seeing a hearse coming and going.
Diners who prefer relative quiet and death-denial would be advised to move indoors and order a round or two of aptly titled Life Preservers. This frozen drink packs a sweet punch, layering a hurricane and a margarita with melon and blackberry liquors. Sure, it's a sugary adult slushy, but it's a good one. For something a bit more respectable, try the bloody mary; Pier 247's version is done right with a little kick and an acidic, tomato-forward base that doesn't get overwhelmed with Worcestershire. Like all the drinks on the brunch menu, they're attractively priced at $5 each.
Brunch grub straddles the line between Southern and Cajun and reflects Pier's seafood focus in several dishes. While some restaurants don't offer regular lunch service during brunch hours, Pier 247 lets diners order from the regular menu as well — a tempting offer with options like oysters at $6.95 a dozen.
An order of the crab cakes Benedict ($12.95) features a biscuit (in place of English muffin) split in two, each half topped with a crab cake that's as straightforward as they come with a crispy, seared breadcrumb exterior and an interior that's all meat. Add a couple poached eggs and that resplendent, piquant sauce and you get the stuff of Paula Deen's erotic fantasies.
A haunting still life: chicken fried chicken biscuit sandwich and cheesy grits.
As rich as the Benedict might have been, it paled in waistline martyrdom to the chicken-fried chicken biscuit sandwich ($12.95.) The incredibly tender biscuits were toasted just a hair before they were crowned with a slab of fried chicken that hit all the right notes. We're talking moist, well salted breast meat and a crunchy, craggy crust that really held up to the savory, bacon-loaded gravy that ran laps around the plate.
And oh, the grits. Too often restaurants deliver sad little plops of under-salted cornmeal mush when cheese grits were promised. But not here. Here, there is truth in advertising with grits that delight thanks to plenty of cheese and a little pimento. The total effect of this dish could be seen as diners pushed away from their tables with a satisfied, stuffed expression on their faces — it was as if Thanksgiving had come and gone one hot August afternoon.
There are occasions that call for a sophisticated brunch. And then there are times when you want a frozen adult beverage, four sides of grits and to eat a meal that would burn a hole through a calorimeter but not through your wallet.
Pier 247, 247 W, Davis St. Brunch is served 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
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