These days, it's difficult for a food photo to stand out. On any given social media feed, you're bound to see just about everybody and their grandmother touting something they put in their pie-holes. But sometimes, a picture of a savory waffle cradling mozzarella-covered meatballs comes along, and it compels you to stop scrolling, dig your car keys out from whatever clothes pile they had landed in and go.
That's exactly what happened when Cane Rosso started to tweet intel about their White Rock location's new brunch menu. Armed with the promise of a cheesy meatball waffle sandwich and the hope that good pizzaiolos make good bruncholos, we sallied forth into that good midday.
For starters, the drink prices are cheap: $1 mimosas, along with micheladas and bloody marys for $3 each. This was a wise move on Cane Rosso's part. The only thing adults love more than day-drinking is cost-effective day-drinking, because when you're sipping your money through a straw, you want to feel as thrifty as possible. The mimosas tasted, well, like orange juice and inexpensive Champagne — a winning combination if there ever was one — while the michelada worked its mystifying magic. Is it a beer, the dredges of a shrimp cocktail or a can of V8? Why, it's an intoxicating melange of all three, of course.
Food-wise, there's plenty to choose from, but why labor over options when the decision has clearly been made for you? You will order the chicken biscuit, because that is what people at brunch do, and you will also order The Hylander ($12), not for its upper-crust moniker but for its waffle's crust, which was golden and brown and gave way to something genius.
Genius because this is no ordinary waffle. It is a savory, potato-y waffle — think part pirogi, part mashed potato pancake — sent no doubt from a god who wants earthlings to eat carbohydrates and be content. Here, the waffle serves as a brilliant meatball delivery system. The meatballs themselves are simply seasoned; the majority of the dish's flavor is driven by the marinara and melted mozzarella that hug the meatballs and bind them to the waffle with a distinctly Italian level of aggression. This is food that lies somewhere on the comfort spectrum between meatloaf and mashed potatoes and a nap.
The other dish you should — and will — order is the Mother Clucker ($12), aka chicken biscuit. There has been rabbit-like proliferation of this particular brunch dish recently, but Cane Rosso's version manages to best the competition with the culinary equivalent of a half nelson: They added bacon to the biscuit dough. And not just a perfunctory amount, either; it's enough to sing through bites of darkly fried chicken and spicy maple syrup.
Cane Rosso has built up a lot of good will with its constituency through many years of consistent service, weirdly charming ranch dressing hatred and pizzas that are as well executed as they are floppy. We predict that their institution status will only rise with the inclusion of dirt-cheap drinks and dishes that taste as good as they look.
Cane Rosso White Rock, 7328 Gaston Ave.
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