Saturday, April 13, 2013

The best damn biscuits and gravy I almost never ate.

A month ago while perusing my Twitter feed, I caught wind of Chef George Formaro's [@breadguy] intention of offering a biscuits and gravy special at Centro for Saturday brunch. Excitedly I arrived 15 minutes early that rainy morning, sheltered under the front awning until the doors opened.

Once inside, I may have been the first seated but not the first served, nor second or inexplicably the third. Close to twenty minutes had passed by while three tables in my vicinity were seated, offered water, had their orders taken, and food served to two of them while no one took notice of me. I've never been keen on flagging down wait staff upon being seated but I've no qualms once I have a beverage in my hand, such as asking for the check after an awkward wait or requesting a bottle of hot sauce. So many patrons can be downright haughty, and I loathe to be counted among them. I could easily cut the staff some slack, figuring they thought I was waiting for more to come in my party. Little did they know of my utter lack of a social life.

My urge to just get and up and go increased with each passing minute, but at the same time I was intrigued. I decided to give it a full half-hour before I bolted, but fortunately for me a new server came out unto the room, took notice and greeted me warmly. I briefly explained my consternation with a smile of relief, dissuaded any fears they may of had of running into an aforementioned haughty prick, then got down to business with my order.

In literally no time I was watered and soon after presented with a vision… I should say three visions. One being a plate of biscuits and gravy with sunnyside eggs resting atop, the rest being sides I ordered of just the sausage gravy and a lone biscuit. All the better to enjoy each aspect of the dish on its own.

The biscuit? Oh, it was damn fine! Damn fine indeed with a well-defined flake. Biscuits aren't meant to be sturdy, bready discs; they need to be close to the verge of falling apart, otherwise the biscuit sandwich would only be a dream. The taste was just buttery enough with a hint of sweetness to take notice. And the biscuit was visually stunning as well, exhibiting clearly defined strata capped with a lightly golden top.

The sausage gravy was some of the most memorable I've ever enjoyed. Built on a fleshy foundation of Niman Ranch pork, hand smoked, and coarsely ground. The taste, unlike what you'd expect of breakfast sausage, was quite… hammy. The velvety smooth gravy packed some zest, but properly constrained to be an appetite-enhancing accent. A magnificent marriage of meatiness and flavor. I only wish this came in quarts to go.

Sunnyside eggs were first rate, with a not too runny yolk with beautiful, firm whites. With all three aspects of the dish put together it nothing short of synergy.

Still aglow I asked for another biscuit and a piece of bacon to enjoy, which to my delight was offered on the house. A parting gift of two biscuits bagged to go was most unexpected and appreciated. Way to rescue my day!

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