The Scoop Houston: Adair Kitchen
It had been far too long since I had done a proper brunch. I do not mean the white tablecloth, country club affair you may attend with your family after church. I mean boozy, napkin-optional brunch with your friends to catch up over tacos or re-live the crazy (insert: dancing on the bar/falling down stairs/singing at the drive-through speaker) kind of night you just woke up from at 12:30 PM on a Sunday. My Saturday nights haven’t been that exciting since college, but the hangover meals have upgraded from cafeteria Migas to carafes of peach mimosas. I’ll take it.
This particular Sunday, I decided to call a brunch meeting to get my fix and catch up with a few friends. From my ever-growing list of brunch spots in Houston, I decided on one that kept popping up on my radar in the Galleria area: Adair Kitchen. This homey joint, run by brother and sister duo Nick Adair and Katie Adair Barnhart, follows a simplistic approach. By combining fresh ingredients, healthy choices, and American classics, they have created quite the mom and pop (sis and bro?) spot. Many of the dishes at Adair Kitchen take after the meals Nick and Katie ate growing up: simple and made with love. With the help of Executive Chef Roberto Ozaeta, these reminiscent dishes are crafted with quality and expertise—and at very reasonable prices.
The first thing you’ll notice when you arrive at Adair kitchen on a weekend morning may likely be the line, twenty-something people deep, filing out of the front door. Do not let this deter you, it will go fast. Plus, you will appreciate the time to plan your brunch attack if you haven’t been there before. The menu has its share of classics (two eggs any style, buttermilk pancakes, omelets—you know the drill), healthier options, including cinnamon baked peaches on cottage cheese and house made granola parfait, and then it gets crazy on you (crazy in the kind of way where you can’t decide what sounds best). As the line brought me closer and closer to the counter, I found myself in a panic between two poached eggs partnered with a baked parmesan tomato and grilled asparagus, topped with a balsamic glaze; sourdough toast drizzled in olive oil topped with chorizo and avocado, garnished with lime and fresh cilantro; or a breakfast stack of toast, two eggs, heirloom tomatoes, avocado mash, lime, basil and goat cheese crumbles. Obviously, this was too stressful of a decision, so I went rouge and decided at the last second on scrambled eggs, hash browns and a whole wheat banana pancake. With the daily scramble you get to decide on two ingredients from the list of mix-ins, including meats, veggies, cheese, and even quinoa. That avocado chorizo toast sounded pretty good, so I went with those two mix-ins (this is how my brain works, y’all). My boyfriend got the chicken and waffles, because one of us had to.
The rest of my group ordered, we filled our coffee mugs, and found a table. Only with the arrival of a carafe of mimosas did I realize this place had a cocktail menu. Perhaps the menu drawn on butcher paper, pinned on the far end wall of the counter we ordered at was not the easiest to find, but at least now I know where to look. It didn’t take long, maybe 10 minutes, for our food to start arriving in waves. All said and done we had a round table full of food. When I saw the avocado chorizo toast sitting in front of my friend Victoria, I instantly regretted going with my own creation containing the same ingredients. The scrambled version that I had sitting in front of me was simple. The chorizo was finely cut and mixed in with the eggs, while it remained whole, plump and juicy on the stacked avocado-mashed sourdough toast with two beautiful over-easy eggs perched on top. Don’t get me wrong, the flavor was there: a medium heat from the chorizo mixed with the creamy avocado gave my scrambled eggs some gumption. I would just recommend going the route of the expertly crafted menu item, not my weird last minute hesitation.
While the chicken and waffles did not live up to my boyfriend’s standards (he prefers chicken wings, while these were just tenders), I thought they were a great combination of sweet and salty. I agree, dark meat is preferable, but this chicken was extremely juicy with the perfect golden, salty crunch. The waffles were light, fluffy and not overly sweet. My main complaint: it needed more syrup, or at least I needed easy access to more syrup. While we couldn’t agree on our fondness of this dish, we both went gaga over my hash browns.
Whatever I decide to order next time I brunch at Adair Kitchen, I know one thing: the hash browns are mandatory. Words I typically use to describe these breakfast taters? Crispy, golden, salty, crunchy, starchy, hearty. These all apply to the hash browns here, except now I can add creamy to the list. Woven into the diner-worthy potato pile was some kind of cream, taking this classic breakfast side from delicious to addicting.
Whether you are indecisive like me, or just want a spectrum that ranges from simple dishes that remind you of your childhood, to healthy choices, all the way to unique, flavorful breakfast options, Adair Kitchen is a great place to check out. I know I certainly will be back—and this time I’ll be sure the brunch cocktails find their way to my table.