I Can Eat 50 Eggs: Taverna

In honor of Paul Newman and “Cool Hand Luke,” I’ll review 50 days of eggs from 50 different restaurants.
Day 28: Taverna
258 W. Second St. 477-1001, www.tavernabylombardi.com.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Thursday. 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday. 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday. 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. Brunch is served until 3 p.m. Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday.
By Mike Sutter | Fed Man Walking | 01.28.12
If you’ve wondered why so many people cram themselves into Taverna’s patio tables and dining room and sardine-can of a bar and waiting area on Saturday and Sunday, here’s a hint: It’s not the $13.50 frittata.
No, it’s those $1 mimosas they craft by dumping half a dozen bottles of Wycliff sparkling wine and jugs of Borden orange juice into a toggle-spout plastic tea urn. How do you know when it’s ready? When no more will fit.
That’s fine, and a cheap buzz is an acceptable way to embroider a decent brunch. Except that it wasn’t, at least not the frittata, that target of scorn for line cooks and Anthony Bourdain, who likens brunch in general and frittatas in particular as waste bins for clearing out the walk-in.
At Taverna, the frittata is listed on the menu as the “chef’s choice” at market price. When I was in, the chef chose brisket, tomato, spinach and cheese. It’s my fault for accepting smoked brisket from a trattoria in the first place, but this was poor and tough even by that standard. The dish failed by frittata standards, too. It’s customary for a frittata to have everything whipped in together then finished in the oven, like a quick egg pie of sorts. This was a flat splat of egg with the fillings lying on top like slackers, because it’s just so hard to manage anything else this early on the weekends. Scorched rosemary home-fries offered little consolation. But the dish gave me a sense of why mimosas are just a buck: They help you forget about brunch.
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)
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