Rooster Kitchen and Café uses premium ingredients for scrumptiously hazardous breakfasts
Breakfast out used to be a regular feature of any given weekend at one point in my life, but it’s mostly reserved now for offbeat outings to beloved Middle Eastern joints (Castle Bake, Zar Zor) or the very occasional foray into dim sum. Part of the reason might be that I can have eggs and toast and as much coffee as I want at my own table. And part of it might be that restaurant breakfast is manifestly unhealthy—if it’s any good, anyway.
Rooster Kitchen and Café boldly conjures those scrumptiously hazardous breakfasts of my cardiovascularly-unafflicted youth in a bright, lovely brick-lined space just below street level at the bottom of a Whyte Avenue condo. The bone-cracking cold of 9 a.m. on a Sunday morning impelled my co-diner to beg off, but the upside was that I shared the Rooster dining room with just one other table. Service was friendly, informed, and attentive even when more people started rolling in.
Just so you know, Rooster is open every day, but only serves food until 3 p.m. or so. They dress up their plates with local products like Four Whistle Farm eggs, Irving Farms pork, Silver Star cheese and Fuge sausages—as well as excellent Iconoclast coffee—so you know that at least they’re going to aggrieve the valves of your heart with premium ingredients. (Adjust your expectations of the price-list accordingly.)
Sure, you can avoid all this with a nice bowl of oatmeal or one of their house-baked bagels with house-cured gravlax, but where is the fun in that? Better to sacrifice bits of your circulatory well-being to a bacon and egg sandwich with unprocessed cheese served on a Party Time donut or French toast stuffed with sour cherry cheesecake. You may be hit by a bus tomorrow, after all.
Choosing my own repast is where I blew it, I have to admit. In seeking to test something unique on the menu, I opted for the breakfast poutine ($13), thinking that this would somehow appeal to more than actual poutine, which I never eat. For this dish, Rooster layers two poached eggs over breakfast potatoes, strews them with cheese curds, bacon and chives, and ladles brown butter hollandaise over the works.
The individual elements were fine, but the soft eggs thinned the buttery hollandaise and made the works kind of soupy. By the end I was faced with stray orts of cheese and egg suspended in more hollandaise than I could strictly handle. One of Rooster’s two variants on eggs benedict would probably have been a better way to get to know this particular sauce.
The toasted flax bagel with scallion cream cheese ($3.75) was fresh and crisp, without the density you expect from a bagel. Not that this was bad, just less than bagel-like. And the fresh cinnamon bun ($4) was outstanding and generously lavished with pecans and bourbon sauce. And man, I could have sat there slurping that coffee all day.
My ordering misstep aside, Rooster seems like a good place for breakfast and a great addition to the avenue. The next time I have a craving for a bacon and egg sandwich served on a premium donut—with really good coffee—I know exactly where I’m headed.
Rooster Kitchen and Café
10732 – 82 Avenue