The Dallas Comedy House has moved locations in the Deep Ellum area, bringing a bigger building, more shows and oddly enough, a serious brunch.
The contemporary location features a wide gamut of comedy classes and performances, even in the mid-mornings of the weekend when a spectacularly large patio awaits the freshly released and hungry students.
While the brunch was clearly intended for classgoers and the like, anyone is welcome to dine. And with the brunch chaos that can overrun Deep Ellum, it’s a partially secluded spot that can hang with the best of them.
The brunch at Dallas Comedy House has been up and running only for about three weeks now, and I entered with my expectations delicately low. With so many wonderful brunch spots just a few blocks up the road, being able to compete at all means setting the bar fairly high.
While there was only one other occupied table when we arrived, our worries were quickly squashed when just a few minutes later an improv class let out, filling a few more seats with brunch-hungry guests. We were served immediately by the bartender playing double duty as a server, as well. We ordered a bloody mary ($6), and a bowl of cereal ($3) to start.
The bloody mary was fairly stock standard, though it had all the accoutrements that made it worth its price tag. The drink was fresh and punchy, with a freshly cracked pepper rim that would make anyone confident enough to go up onstage and perform. The bowl of cereal is … a bowl of cereal. We had our choice of Cap'n Crunch, Cinnamon Toast Crunch or granola and dried fruit.
Because we are adults, we chose the Cinnamon Toast Crunch. For only three freedom papers, the bowl of cereal is in fact not just one bowl, but a bottomless bowl of whichever sugary grain you please. While one could certainly abuse the system and eat 10 bowls of cereal, the general rule is “don’t be a dick." If you’re just looking for a cup of coffee, a bowl of cereal and a quiet place to nurse a hangover, this is it.
The full menu is limited to the essentials of what would constitute a brunch, with approachable prices. Compared with the exact same dishes down the road for twice or even three times the price, a bit of leeway needs to be given for a lack of creativity in dishes. For the main dishes, we chose the Martin short stack pancakes ($6), the “Beignet yays!” ($8) and a build-your-own breakfast bowl ($9).
It's extremely easy to make mediocre pancakes. I’d reckon about 90% of all pancakes ever made in this world fall into the ‘meh’ category. Boxed mix, Aunt Jemima and a desire for quantity over quality are usually the main culprits.
On the other end, it's fairly difficult to break free of this zone and enter the realm of “Dang, those are some pretty good flapjacks.”
In the case of the DCH’s short stack, I would put them just a hair shy of the latter category. The three pancakes are big and bulky, and they rest upon each other precariously. Even more delicately sat a mound of whipped cream on top, which very promptly slalomed its way down to the edge of the plate. Aesthetics aside, the pancakes are airy and light, and they don’t get very easily bogged down with syrup.
The beignets arrived next, as an adorable five-sphere pyramid dotted with blots of whipped cream. Each little beignet has a delightfully crispy exterior, covered in a sandy sweet mixture of sugar and cinnamon. The inside is hollowed from frying and filled with a lightly sweet goat cheese puree that adds a unique tang and richness to the overall dish. They were delightful in every way — albeit astonishingly filling. I certainly was not expecting goat cheese from the DCH, and I more so wasn’t expecting a dish so spectacular.
The build-your-own-breakfast bowl was last. It, much like the pancakes, was fairly standard although certainly tasty enough to finish.
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Your mileage will certainly vary depending on which ingredients you choose to fill your bowl: the egg, bacon, sausage, cheese and potato blend we got was closer to a hash skillet, and a good one at that. The only gripe we had was that the included salsa was more of a detriment to the overall dish, as it was watery and bland. With a state known for having such a wide variety of phenomenal salsas, there isn't much excuse for using the boring stuff.
It is nothing short of hilarious that the Dallas Comedy House is serving such a delightful little brunch that outpaces a few of its dedicated restaurant neighbors. It's not high-end, it's not elegant and it certainly isn’t for everyone, but it isn’t trying to be.
What appears to have started out as a way to get students from the comedy classes to stay a few extra minutes and spend a few extra bucks, has set itself with some serious potential to stand on its own. With its immense new outside patio — and the weather that is finally becoming cooperative — it's worth walking an extra block or two to check out.
Dallas Comedy House, 3036 Elm St. (Deep Ellum). Brunch served 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.