To satisfy a friend's Bloody Mary craving on Saturday, I checked out Susan Axelrod's Bodacious Bloodies round-up, where I saw East Ender's smoky, sausage topped version. While I rarely crave Bloody Marys, I'd heard they serve amazing fried chicken - over a waffle to boot.
For Saturday lunch, the restaurant was quiet, while Duckfat next door was overflowing with customers. We were happy to slide into a table with one long wooden banquet on one side, right next to a two-sided gas fireplace that faces some inviting lounge seats.
My friend Dr. P got the Bloody Mary, of course, and I tried the Pretty Girl Margarita ($8) which was described as containing elderflower liqueur, but if it did it wasn't prominent. The brunch menu is a good mix of brunch and lunch items - from the 'ee standard' (two eggs, bacon, sausage, toast, hash browns) and eggs benedict to pulled pork and a burger. Really, the hardest part is narrowing down your choices.
But my menu choice was predetermined: chicken and waffles ($14), a buttermilk fried half bird, malted waffle, maple syrup, hot sauce, and creme fraiche. And I didn't miss any of those other menu items for a second. The chicken was deboned and perfectly fried, still tender with grill marks giving it a nice smokiness. The waffle was fluffy, yet substantial, but I could have done without the creme fraiche.
As Dr. P tucked into his equally good plate of eggs, bacon, sausage (I think he said it was some of the best sausage he'd ever had), we watched as the table next to us was first served flaky fruit filled pop tarts, and then a comically large trio of lemon curd filled donuts, topped with maraschino cherries.
As we walked past the table on our way out, I overheard one of the men say, "this place is underrated." And I have to agree. You don't hear much about it, but the East Ender is quietly serving damn fine food.