Having established itself as an evening haunt for dining and drinking and feeling quasi-fabulous, Happiest Hour set its sights on the a.m. crowd. — or rather, the sometime before 3 p.m. crowd. Last weekend marked the restaurant's third week of brunch service — which they so millennially refer to as #ButFirstBrunch — and it turned out to be a hollandaise lover's dream.
The five-item menu is either anemic or selectively curated, depending on your outlook. A stack of heavenly looking ricotta pancakes was served with a landslide of fruit compote and Nutella pebbles. (Other restaurants should take note of Happiest Hour's 2:1 pancake-to-topping ratio.) Other options include house-made biscuits smothered in a spicy venison gravy and shrimp and grits bathed in Cajun cream sauce.
Two dishes on Happy Hour's menu pay a lemony, buttery tribute to everyone's favorite a.m. mother sauce. The Benedict ($12) rests two lovely little crab cakes — sizzled until their tops and bottoms turned crunchy and amber, with tangles of pure, sweet lump crab inside — atop the craggy halves of a toasty English muffin. Hidden beneath the cakes were a few thin slices of sauteed asparagus, which added a nice crunch and bit of freshness to a dish that's otherwise made rich with poached eggs and pale, Easter egg-yellow hollandaise bathing it all in a silken, citrus embrace.
The rise and shine ($11), meanwhile, made for a breakfast sandwich of the utmost variety. Two slices of sourdough bun cradled strip after strip of thick-cut bacon that was crisp but not brittle. A smear of avocado, curls of golden shoestring potatoes and a couple of fried eggs dressed out the sandwich. And yes, there was more hollandaise, which this time paraded its way down the bread and onto the plate. Taken together, this fork-and-knife sandwich is truly something to get out of bed for. But after you eat it, of course, you'll need a good long nap.
Happiest Hour, 2616 Olive St. Brunch served 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays