Beverley’s Bistro and Bar had our attention before it opened last spring. It exudes charm on North Fitzhugh Avenue, on that strip between Cole Avenue and the Katy Trail. It looks like a fine place to eat and has that appearance of a place that would have a good brunch: bright colors with lots of natural light flowing inside, some plastic wicker bistro chairs outside.
Shakshuka, with tomatoes, peppers, baked eggs, feta and herbs, should be a regular breakfast item.
And it turns out that the food, far more than the aesthetics, makes this one of the best brunches we’ve had in awhile.
Greg Katz has created a bistro you’ll love to visit. Yes, the rumors we heard about it being loud are true — you can see they’ve taken those comments to heart when you look at the ceiling. But it’s loud in a way that makes the space feel alive. Sitting in for a late brunch, there’s a buzz around you, not just in the energy of swiftly moving employees, but conversations happening all around you. They come from people who are also feeling happy to be in this marble-topped dining room.
And it is busy: So much so, that when we sat down, there was a napkin on the chair from the previous diners. Not ideal, but not unbelievable considering the number of people they were getting through on a Sunday.
Smoked fish dip
Katz also has a menu you can get into, especially if you’re one of those who wants to see more bistros in our city. (I'm not the only one, right?) There’s caviar and latkes ($21), which I didn’t have at brunch but had at an event where Katz served them: Perfectly crisp potato topped with creme fraiche, hackleback caviar, chives and pickled shallots make a perfect, savory bite.
Oysters are available, but they don’t need to be a go-to here ($19 for a half-dozen, $38 for a full). Shucking oysters is not fun (I recently had to do 50 of them), but to get a pretty display of oysters and find they’ve been wrecked in the process, then have to spit out bits of shell, makes you want your money back. The server not knowing what was in front of us didn’t help either.
The oysters looked better (from afar) than they tasted.
What you should not miss, though, is the smoked fish dip topped with grilled scallions and served with sesame crackers ($14). It’s one of those dips you first taste, then regret you have to share with your tablemates. In no way “fishy,” this mixture is touched with smoke and thoughtfully seasoned. It’s simply a perfect dip, one you may find yourself wishing you could display at your upcoming holiday gathering. (That’s literally something a friend of mine wants as I type this.)
Jumping to the main courses, there are some unassuming and expected items such as avocado toast with ricotta and an egg ($13) and buttermilk pancakes ($14). Chilaquiles stand out on this menu, but they had to wait for another visit ($14).
We skipped those for the shakshuka, a lovely small skillet of baked eggs among tomatoes and peppers and topped with feta and herbs. A solid red sauce can make you sit back in your chair, close your eyes and take in the herbaceous flavors of this rich creation. This has that, along with brighter peppers that take care of eggs that are perfectly cradled in this lovely presentation.
Steak and egg hash
The Bar N steak and egg hash is a hearty plate that’s worth ordering ($19). Steak comes with onions, peppers, sweet potato, kale, sunny-side-up eggs and salsa verde. Nothing too shocking here. The steak, though, brings a fatty flavor not dissimilar to pot roast, and we mean that in the best way possible. Full of protein and with enough veggies, we can’t walk away feeling too badly about enjoying this so much.
On the sandwich side, there’s a breakfast sandwich we’re definitely returning for ($15). House-made sausage comes with American cheese, sunny-side egg, spicy aioli and arugula on a brioche bun. There’s also a smoked salmon bagel we have hope for, too ($16).
A perfectly tall pastrami sandwich
But for whatever wonderful reason, we’re seeing more and more pastrami sandwiches in town, and we are absolutely here for that. Bar N pastrami comes with slaw and Gruyere on marbled rye. The meat needs salt, but add that and you have everything you want in a just-too-tall-for-the-mouth sandwich with a slaw that drips a bit when you bite into it.
Katz knew someone at our table and brought out a Key lime pie on the house. The tops and sides of the meringue saw a torch, giving a lovely roasted flavor for every bite. The pie itself was more neutral than the face-pinching tartness that Key lime pie can create.
A not-too-tart Key lime pie
You’re pretty safe on the cocktail list, though you can easily rack up your bill because of it. A bloody mary is fine with its dill-peppercorn vodka ($11), and the paloma is refreshing enough to drink too quickly ($12). The Fire When Ready cocktail is good for any time of the day — maybe not 8 a.m. on a Monday, but let’s say mid-brunch time onward ($14). Casamigos tequila, Sombra mezcal, ancho reyes verde, honey, orange and habanero is a combination that is right up this writer’s alley, and it's executed in a balanced way here.
We go to brunch every week. It’s part of the gig of trying to give you an idea of what your options are out there. But it is rare to walk out of a place and think, “When can I come back?” or, “Can I skip a week of brunch reviews and just go back here instead?”
That’s what brunch should be: Not a place to drink enough $2 mimosas so that whatever you eat is acceptable, but a place that’s created a menu with purpose and a team that has proper execution to make a memorable meal.
Beverley’s Bistro and Bar , 3215 N. Fitzhugh Ave. 214-915-8840. Brunch served 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.