SANTA FE, N.M. — Restaurants with brunch menus abound on Sundays, but what happens the other six days of the week? What happens if you’re craving a substantial late breakfast or early lunch, or just that comfortable combo of eggs and fancy toast and whatever on a weekday?
Well, more and more restaurants seem to be offering all-day breakfast menus, and now, with Cafe Mimosa, we have a brunch menu that lasts until midafternoon every day.
Located in the former Back Street Bistro space, Cafe Mimosa has a cool, industrial vibe, with concrete floors and exposed metal beams, and VAC bisecting the white ceiling. Neutral stripes and touches of color on the walls brighten the mood. But those white chairs, which lack any cushioning and look as if they belong on the patio, could be a little more comfy. (Nab a cushioned seat along the banquette, if you can!)
A friend spotted this new cafe shortly after it opened in May, and we stopped by not long after. The restaurant still had a limited menu – it has since expanded its choices – but we were eager to try some of its featured items.
My guest chose Samantha’s Smoked Salmon Benedict ($12) and was quite pleased with the result. Two eggs were nicely poached, draped in Hollandaise sauce, and perched on a base of toast and smoked salmon. The mixed greens at the side were fresh and flavored with a nice vinaigrette, topped with a couple of cherry tomatoes and blueberries. But her greatest appreciation was for the roast potatoes on the side, which had a creamy texture and herb-y flavor. Nice!
I went for a full-scale entree, ordering the Moroccan Lamb Chop Tagine ($18). This was a little different from my previous experience with tagine, when a talented friend shared a home-cooked tagine that resembled a stew enveloped by the flavorful sauce. Cafe Mimosa’s dish, though, featured the chops and a side of couscous sitting in a shallow sauce.
The sauce was very good, with a subtle sweetness likely contributed by cinnamon and other ingredients that usually mark this North African dish. The couscous was perfectly cooked, enhanced by garbanzo beans and peas. The lamb chops presented more of a challenge. They were a little overcooked, making them a bit dry, but still not too tough. This may have been an aberration, depending on the demands on the kitchen or the condition of the meat. Still, I’d probably choose something else on the menu on later visits. It took some time for the order to come to the table, but restaurant staff were gracious enough to come and inform us that, since the tagine was made to order, we would have to wait for a bit. Since my friend and I were happy to chat and sip on our drinks (water and iced tea), this was not a problem.
When the menu expanded a few weeks later, I went back to sample offerings from a couple of other categories. The artichoke-mushroom bisque ($7 for a bowl) was a creamy puréed combo of those two ingredients (and more) that had a satisfying earthy flavor without being too heavy.
It was brightened by what I assumed to be a squeezing of lemon juice over the filled bowl, which gave a hit of tartness in some spoonfuls, but not others. It would have been nice to have a slice of bread presented with it, but it was not to be.
I also couldn’t resist the Danish Pear and Blue Cheese Crêpe ($7). Two came on the plate, sprinkled with powdered sugar, drizzled with honey and topped with a center dollop of whipped cream and strawberries. The combination of the assertive, savory cheese with crisp chopped pear and candied walnuts was irresistibly seductive. It would have been interesting to taste it with cooked pear, but the slight crunch of the fresh pears was satisfying, too.
That dish was the only thing that might qualify as a dessert when I last visited, but stay tuned. The menu may slowly expand over time. There were still a number of empty seats the times I visited, but, with luck, word will get around, and more people will come and enjoy. It would be nice to see this spot attain success.