At Gay List Daily, we love our BOTM’s. Even when we find them at straight bars. But it just goes to show, that a good Brunch of the Month can be hidden anywhere. And our favorite new hotspot is J. Black’s Feel Good Lounge on Henderson Avenue (not to be confused with Miss Kwan’s Feel Good Massage on Harry Hines).
What we like most is that brunch at J. Black’s is like going on safari. Off in one banquette, a graceful sorority girl is grazing on salad and taking intermittent dips into the pool of fresh Mimosa in front of her, while at a nearby table, a frat boy is waiting for his moment to pounce. (We should probably warn her, but we’re sworn under oath not to interfere with the stories we’re reporting.) After a short dance-like maneuver and a flick of his A&F ball cap, he releases his AXE-scented pheromones and goes in for the kill. Within minutes, she’s in his lap, giggling relentlessly. The circle of life, folks. It’s the real deal.
So yes, like most places on Henderson these days, there’s a large contingency of straights in the crowd, but we’re not in the least bit heterophobic, so we say live and let live. Clearly, this is how they’ve chosen to live their lives and we salute them for their bravery.
Our first indulgence of the day was J. Black’s great Bloody Mary Bar. Rather than offer up a gazillion brands of mixers, they’ve settled on the best Bloody Mary mix in the universe – Zing Zang. It’s better than most homemade mixes and our hands-down favorite. Plus, for the $4 price tag, you get a generous pour of Ketel One Vodka, not that well crap that some places try to pawn off. There’s also a nice variety of pickled and fresh veggies and a huge variety of hot sauces and other goodies.
After our single Bloody Mary quota is reached, we always switch to Mimosas, but here, they’ve got a Mimosa on steroids for us professional drinkers. Served in a large stemless wine glass, the Gran Mimosa (also just $4) is orange juice, sparkling wine and a generous Gran Marnier floater. It’s that booze-meets-booze combo we love so much in a breakfast drink. And believe us, two of these put us down for a Sunday afternoon nap faster than 10 minutes of C-SPAN and an Ambien.
Surprisingly, the food is the real star at this Austin-based pub. One word of caution, though. It can sometimes take a while for the food to arrive, but it’s well worth the wait. So don’t go having a conniption if it’s not as quick as your normal Rooty Tooty Fresh and Fruity. Everything is made to order, so shut it.
On the breakfast side, we tried two of their uniquely filled breakfast tacos. One, called the “1993” features scrambled eggs, sautéed Portobello mushrooms, arugula, shallots and sun-dried tomatoes, topped with goat cheese. The other we tried, called the “1995,” was stuffed full of marinated chicken, scrambled eggs, Boursin cheese and fresh avocado. Each were rolled like burritos and served with some crazy-hot (but delicious) salsa. Just be careful how much of that liquid fire you add.
The Prosciutto Eggs Benedict had just enough of a twist on the classic, substituting Prosciutto for Canadian Bacon and a sourdough English Muffin for variety. This is easily the best Benedict we’ve had in a while, and most definitely in the Top Three in Dallas if we’re rating traditional-style versions. The poached egg was absolutely perfectly cooked, melting effortlessly into the meat and bread while complimenting the light, flavorful Hollaindaise. Nothing like a heavy-handed sauce to ruin a perfectly good Benedict, but here it’s done with precision and finesse.
We ended the breakfast feast with some great French Toast. Nothing out of the ordinary here, but not everything has to be tricked up to be delicious. And we ate the whole thing.
With our stomach quickly filling and no end in sight for the parade of food they were bringing, we concluded things with the Shrimp & Grits. Three blackened colossal (and they’re serious when they use that adjective) shrimp are served atop the most addictive sharp cheddar grits we’ve ever tasted. Tangy, creamy and plentiful, there were enough grits to share with everyone in the restaurant. But we kept them all for ourselves.
We can’t wait to feel good again at J. Black’s and we promise you’ll love it, too. Just make sure to bring your camera to capture the straights in their natural habitat. After all, the State Fair Photo Contest is just around the corner.
Brunch served Saturday & Sunday, 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
2409 North Henderson Avenue, Dallas
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