Brunch Review: Citizen

My friend Joanna and I grab coffee or lunch about every other week. Joanna usually grabs food at a cart while I pack lunch like the frugal grad student I am. (She’s also in grad school. Maybe I’m just frugal.) Recently, however, the wind chill was a bit too much, so Joanna suggested we go to Citizen.

This wasn’t my first time at Citizen, but it was at their new location on East Main and 12th. Their old location was this small joint underneath what can only be described as a plaza on the side of a skyscraper (okay, it’s Richmond, so the SunTrust Tower is a skyscraper). Honestly, finding the old place made me feel like such a hipster; I needed to put on my thick-rimmed glasses. The new place faces right onto Main Street.

Citizen is basically a city café. You walk in, and half the joint is the bar (like a Waffle House bar, not a bar bar, where you can see them preparing your meal) and the other half is one long row of seating. We decided to grab a table since we weren’t going to sit outside. A waiter soon helped us, which is an upgrade from their old location where it was order-and-seat-yourself.

Now I knew Citizen serves eggs all day, which is my favorite food, but their menu now explicitly features a section called itself “Weekday Brunch.” So hello. I immediately told Joanna this lunch date had turned into a brunch review. “I hope you don’t mind.”

And is there anything better than a brunch on hump day to get you between Sunday and Saturday?

No. No, there isn’t.

Except maybe a trip to Europe.

Or iced coffee.

Anyway, I ordered the omelet. The menu reads: “Fresh local eggs filled with your choice of cheddar, bacon, ham, spinach, peppers, green onion, and/or tomatillo salsa, served with toast or biscuit & one side”

The key word there is, “Choice of.” I skipped over it when I first decided on the omelet, but then Joanna asked what I was getting in my omelet.

Me: “All of it. Or…does it say what the limit is?” Because the limit does not exist.

I asked the waiter anyhow. He told me you could get it all, so I got it all.

You really can’t go wrong with eggs and cheese, and this omelet added further evidence to that school of thought. I’ve also gotten the huevos rancheros at Citizen before, which is worth a try, but I think I’ve switched teams and will be getting the omelet from now on.

A unique part of the omelet was the tomatillo salsa on top. It wasn’t overwhelming, but it was an appreciated touch. I also got lentils and feta for a side, which was tasty, but not a traditional brunch side. Maybe try Byrd Mill grits for that or fresh fruit salad.

Joanna got the pupusa meal (not under the brunch section; what was she thinking?). Before her plate arrived, we wondered what a pupusa once. Based on linguistics, I pictured a pus-filled burrito. “Though I doubt it’s actually that.”

In fact, a pupusa is similar to a pancake and made of black beans and cheese. The meal comes topped with a bunch of root vegetables, i.e. radishes, cilantro, the tomatillo salsa, etc. I apologize I didn’t snap a photo, but it wasn’t brunch, so, like, why would I?

Anyhow, I already know I’ll be back to Citizen since it’s convenient and cheap (the omelet meal was $7) if you work downtown. The caveat is, Citizen is only open for brunch Monday through Friday. So don’t show up on a Saturday. You’ll be disappointed.