Brunch Review: Deep Ellum

Last month I had the opportunity to go up to Boston to visit my friend Petrina who was previously mentioned on this blog as someone who doesn’t believe in free pizza. Petrina is not typically a planner, but for my visit, she set out to create an itinerary for our weekend together.

Knowing I run a brunch blog, she knew we had to get brunch upon my arrival Saturday morning, and I wasn’t going to object. She sent me three options. She described them as 1.) “$$ hipsters,” 2.) “$ (if you do brunch special) and yuppie socialities”, and 3.) “$$ normal young people.”

I Googled the options. Number two’s website had a broken URL for their menu, so that was out. And number three sounded boring. Normal young people? Who wants that?

Number one happened to be Deep Ellum. Petrina added, “Deep Ellum is an excellent choice, and parking is ample.”

I asked if it was dark inside. The name just gave me this feeling of a damp seaside bar with oil-lit lanterns. Petrina asked if I was afraid of the dark and then told me it was dark indeed, “but there are windows.” I like well-lit brunches for Instagram purposes, so this almost made me say no, but then I didn’t. And phew, because Deep Ellum actually has skylights.

Petrina’s description: “Imagine a dirty hipster wearing all black in a grungy basement band show.”

Having now gone to Deep Ellum, I question this description, but I decided to throw it in this review nevertheless. I feel a more apt description is “narrow dive bar without fluorescent lighting and $9 mimosas.” I’ve also included a photo because it speaks a thousand more words.

From the airport that Saturday, Petrina drove us to Deep Ellum in Allston-Brighton, Boston, MA, USA (in case you want to mail something). I didn’t drive, but parking was not as ample as Petrina made it sound. We had to park a couple blocks away. But it felt good to stretch my legs after being cramped on a plane.

When we arrived, every table was taken except for two bar seats, but the men surrounding these two vacant seats were manspreading, so it would have been more cramped than my plane seat if we sat there. We told the waitress we’d wait for a table. In the meantime, I helped myself to the restroom and Petrina ordered us mimosas while perched on one of those two seats. The mimosas were very good. I don’t know how else to describe the mixture of orange juice and champagne that most millennials have had in their life. Except they were $9 it turned out.

Then again, this was Boston, not Virginia.

While sipping our mimosas, we reviewed the menu. Or I did. I also ate my orange slice to hold over me over.

Petrina already knew what she was getting: the BBQ breakfast, described braised pork shoulder, cornbread, mustard aioli, and a fried egg on top. That did sound good, but I wanted to order something different (for this review, you know). So I asked the bartender what his favorite brunch meal was.

“The barbecue breakfast,” he replied.

Okay then.

Inevitably, we ordered two BBQ breakfasts ($10 each, very reasonable). I don’t regret the decision. They did not skimp on the pork shoulder, though I sorta just want to call it pork because I’d rather not think about which part of the anatomy this was torn from. (Sorry, did I gross you out?) Anyway, I highly recommend.

I also peeked on my neighbor’s plate and suggest considering the Duck Confit Hash if you visit Deep Ellum (braised swiss chard, fingerling potatoes, red peppers, and two fried eggs – oh, and duck). That was served in a skillet. The Fall River French toast (Portuguese sweet bread and syrup and no animals harmed) also looked super-duper filling if you’re not counting carbs.

However, if and when I return to Deep Ellum, I’d probably still stick to my BBQ breakfast. And save up for that mimosa.