Flora Street has seen somewhat of an evolution lately, and now it has a brunch to prove it.
Flora Street was one of the few remaining exceptionally fine dining restaurants in Dallas until it recently embraced a more casual setting in an effort to reboot. The Sunday brunch offers the Southwest touches of Stephan Pyles while presenting approachable dishes for anyone — not just symphony season ticket-holders.
It’s even suitable for having brunch at the bar. The bartender will offer good conversation while “Radio Ga Ga” plays throughout the dining room.
The large brunch menu has appetizers, breakfast options, savory dishes and sides. There’s no need to spend too much time exploring it yourself. On a recent visit, one gentleman on staff talked us through the menu with recommendations while another employee stood awkwardly, close behind. After gentleman No. 1 left, employee No. 2 came up and repeated the process. No need for us to read for ourselves, it seems.
To start, the warm cake doughnuts come with canela sugar and a cup of “abuelita” chocolate. The doughnuts ($7) are topped with doughnut holes, one of which fell off the main doughnut onto the counter in the open kitchen, then fell off again once it got to the table. The chocolate is fine and rich enough to be frosting on a cake. The doughnuts are dense and perfectly fried.
The pulled pork eggs Benedict ($14) come with blue corn cakes and an Aji amarillo hollandaise. Hopefully it’s better than the duck huevo ranchero ($15). With a black bean puree, “duck confit chorizo,” duck egg and salsa roja, this plate comes out looking nice, but the base comes out crisp for only a moment before becoming soggy, making each bite difficult to cut. The “chorizo” part is lost, unless this duck confit just has some extra pepper seasoning.
Worse yet, this entire plate was overwhelmingly salty. For those of us who might’ve grown up with a cook in the home who oversalts things, we may secretly like when things are “too” salty. But we know that level. And we know when that level has plainly crossed the line to inedible.
If it’s too salty to eat for salt-lovers, it will lie in wait to destroy the taste buds of the average eater.
The lobster club sandwich ($22) is more promising, with a chipotle brioche — Flora Street seriously knows what it’s doing when it comes to bread — candied bacon and lobster.
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An ode to Stampede 66 comes in the form of honey-fried chicken ($21), which is served with buttermilk biscuits, mashed potato tots and bread and butter pickles.
The menu offers plenty to those who want to explore, but having an entire plate of food overwhelmed with salt is hard to justify, especially as this is no bargain brunch. When mentioning this to a staff member, we were told, “We have a lot of Mexican line cooks who just (throws hand as if dashing into a pan) bam!”
That incredibly awkward exchange aside, what's it like to have a casual Sunday brunch in what was once an uber high-end fine dining space? It’s perfectly wonderful. The light-filled room is suited for Sunday brunch. So at least there’s that.
Flora Street Cafe, 2330 Flora St. (Arts District). Brunch served 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Sundays.