Dallas has an ever-growing number of restaurants catering to the brunch crowd, but sometimes, the old standbys are the only thing that hits the spot.
You know how long you’ll wait or the best time to go, you already know what you're likely to order, and what you expect is more or less what you’re going to get.
Dream Cafe is one of those standbys. What was once a modest, hippy-chic location in Uptown has spread to a few other locations around Dallas-Fort Worth. One of those is near Lakewood, which opened mid-2016.
For those of us who live in East Dallas and love Uptown’s Dream Cafe, this was good news. When it first opened, they had some kinks to work out to reach the Uptown location's legendary brunch status — and on our most recent visit, we were not disappointed.
Kinks have been worked out in recipes, service has gotten better and what we love about the original location has transformed into an East Dallas version that makes us smile.
First of all, coffee ($2.75) comes in those white mugs you expect in a diner, except the coffee’s better than that. And the light-filled room offers a space where you can work (on free Wi-Fi) and drink coffee all morning.
But that’s for the weekday. For brunch, go ahead and get real sustenance.
If you’re on one of those days when you’ve decided it’s going to be a more unhealthy day, the cinnamon snail ($4) isn’t a bad item to share. You can also opt for a different direction under the “Healthy” section with items such as house-made granola ($7.50 for a bowl, $5 for a cup) or fruit with yogurt ($7).
For the really good stuff, go for something like the Sunny Side ($13.50), which will get you everything: two eggs any style, pork sausage, smoked bacon and granola-crusted French toast. And that French toast is some of the best you'll find in Dallas.
The huevos rancheros ($10.50) is good here, too. Maybe it’s not the most “authentic” (whatever that may be to you), but it tastes good and it’s worth the dollars.
Two over-easy eggs are served with jack cheese ancho, tomatillo salsa (think something like a Christmas combination) and corn tortillas. It has the right level of heat to make your savory morning a good start to the day.
If you really want to go crazy with soul-satisfying calories, there’s a perfect plate for you: The Elvis ($12.50). No, there’s no peanut butter or bananas, thankfully.
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This is a biscuit layered with scrambled eggs, pork sausage, white cheddar, bacon and gravy. All are served with perfectly crisp hash browns, a side that made us fall in love with the original Dream Cafe in the first place.
Sure, gravy on eggs sounds weird, but it is all a big mess of peppery breakfast foods that just works. You won’t pick it up like a sandwich; the properly poured gravy prevents that. And once your fork starts going to town, it will become a mess, but it certainly won’t be anything you regret.
It’s nice to have your expectations met. It’s nicer when reality is better than you expected. If you haven’t been to the East Dallas Dream Cafe in awhile, it’s time to go back.
Dream Cafe, 6465 E. Mockingbird Lane (East Dallas)