When it opened in December, Wayward Sons introduced diners to executive chef Graham Dodds' take on modern Texan cuisine. So far so good, it seems. The menu is propelled by Dodds' affinity for ingredients that are local, seasonal and married in unexpected ways. With dinner service under their belt, Wayward started offering brunch on Easter weekend. The menu is small, the cocktails are boozy and the Benedict is not to be missed.
Some might approach Wayward Sons' eggs Benedict with great trepidation, questioning whether or not the world really needs another spin on poached eggs and hollandaise on English muffins. Such trepidation has been born out of watery whites and sauce that resembles a lemony, industrial shadow of its real potential. When done right, eggs Benedict reassures the diner that its place on menus is well deserved.
Wayward's version ($14), which replaces the muffins with crumpets and Canadian bacon with lamb sausage, is proof of this. Dodds' inclination to go for broke when it comes to ingredients is evident from the get-go: one pierce of the fork and an amber orange river is released, reminding the diner that there are eggs and then there are eggs. The lamb sausage is so tender and mild and happiness-inducing that one bite is enough to inoculate against guilt-inducing thoughts of Shari Lewis' Lamb Chop. All of this rests on a crumpet, which has been split and pan-fried until crispy. No hash browns here: The accompanying side of rustic veggies includes caramelized cabbage and sweet potatoes, reminding the diner once again that they are in Wayward country.
Whereas the Benedict affords diners a lovely reprisal of something familiar, another egg dish offers something unexpected. Shakshouka ($12) — "a mixture" — originated in North Africa and consists of eggs cooked atop a sauce of tomatoes and red peppers. The versions are endless, but Wayward opts for a super light and verdant rendition, with diced tomatoes and peppers swimming in their own juices, a generous slug of olive oil and bronze fennel. Truly, this is the stuff of bread-sopping dreams. Corral some sauce, a nugget of fresh mozzarella and micro-greens on your toast before crowning this sweet-baby-Jesus of a bite with yolk from the accompanying duck egg.
Those who would rather opt out the myriad egg dishes will find ricotta pancakes ($12) and cornflake-encrusted French toast ($12), while those who prefer to brunch like our prehistoric ancestors did can rejoice in the Paleo granola ($9).
Sharing is encouraged with a few plates intended for the table. There's sausage biscuits and gravy ($9) for the hearty crowd looking to soak up a night of indiscretion, and avocado toast ($10) for the party whose yoga memberships collectively equal that of the average monthly mortgage.
The à la carte items, meanwhile, are nice for the diner wanting to add on or cut back. Do not overlook this section, for tucked between the grits and two-eggs-any-style lies a ruby gem rarely seen on brunch menus: a brûléed grapefruit. A grapefruit half is sprinkled with sugar and then kissed with flame until the top can be cracked with a spoon. It is perfection — the "Girl with a Pearl Earring" of breakfast foods.
It's little details like this that Wayward gets right, even on the first weekend of brunch service. It's the crack of the spoon against the brûlée, the fennel in the shakshouka, the amber orange yolk that help differentiate Wayward Sons from the din of brunch noise. So far so good, indeed.
Wayward Sons, 3525 Greenville Ave., 214-828-2888