New brunch rule: All restaurants must serve exemplary pierogies.
After a recent attempt to dine at a trendy Uptown brunch spot was derailed by a clearly posted, racism-tinged dress code, we high-tailed it to Deep Ellum, where general douchebaggery is stamped out by the firm foot of Wednesday night heavy metal shows and shops that peddle succulents because they’re nice, damn it. What we found was a brunch spot where the wait staff was plentiful, responsive and informed, where the atmosphere was comfortable and tolerably trendy and where the food balanced guttural, hedonistic delight with a measure of chef-driven precision. That place was IdleRye.
IdleRye opened in late May, courtesy of restaurant group Smoke & Mortar. The eclectic menu gleans inspiration both from chef Ray Sradzinski’s Polish background and from the co-owners, whose Louisiana routes and coastal travels are evidenced in dishes like the pork belly eggs benny ($12) smothered in chili hollandaise.
+10 for hashes with fried garlic garnishes.
Regardless of geography, IdleRye’s menu takes a deep dive into the indulgent. Appetizers, or “a.m. snacks,” include bacon balls stuffed with cheesy polenta ($8) and a colon-twisting mountain of tater tots, gruyere and Mornay sauce ($13). Or, if you want to buck summer with a hearty nod to cold-climate foodstuffs, try the pierogies. With a crisp outer dough layer enveloping a cheesy potato mixture, each half-moon is Eastern European comfort food perfection, made even better by a quick dunk in the companion tubs of clarified garlic butter and sour cream.
A variation on the Eastern European theme can be found in dishes like drop-dumplings with sausage ($11), the schnitzel sandwich ($11) and the ridiculous sausage sandwich ($15). Why do they call it ridiculous, you ask? Because it is 13 inches of meat-tube. But where others see a metabolic challenge, we see a mere test of will. And so we ate all 13 inches of caraway- and ginger-spiked sausage. It was a glorious thing: a delicately flavored sausage married with a creamy coriander mustard and topped with pickled shallots and caramelized onions, which delivered just-right punches of acid, umami and tang.
The ridiculous sausage sandwich finally settled the age-old debate: Length matters.
An order of the Spanish chorizo hash, meanwhile, achieved hash perfection. Hashes tend to fall to one spectrum of amalgamation or the other: You either get a discombobulated mishmash of ingredients or a gestalt-like masterpiece. IdleRye’s hash leans toward the latter end, combining deeply roasted Brussels sprouts with a few briny, salty olives, fatty chorizo, mushrooms and potatoes. The end result was a layered and deeply satisfying dish brought together under the safe and ever-unifying cloak of a sunny side egg.
Say what you will about Deep Ellum these days, but it's still no Uptown. For one thing, it's got IdleRye, with its relaxed, welcoming vibe and a culinary prowess that can harness the soul-healing power of comfort food. And for another thing, it's got huge sausage sandwiches and ... oh, wait, that's still IdleRye.
Idlerye, 2826 Elm St.