“Gays love their brunches,” I observe within earshot of Lisa Garza, proprietress of the genteel Henderson Avenue eatery Sissy’s Southern Kitchen. “Who doesn’t love brunch?!” Garza quickly interjects. “It’s my favorite meal.”
It must have been hard, then, for Garza to wait more than a year and a half after opening to add it to the menu here. The restaurant started out with dinner, then some months later added lunch service; brunch starts on Saturday.
It was well worth the wait. Garza says she knew what would be on the menu before the restaurant even opened — that’s how committed she is the experience.
“I’m old enough to remember places like Beau Nash [in the Crescent] that did” brunch the right way, she says. She wants to provide a similar experience now. And the selections on the menu reflect that.
The traditional Sunday Funday crowd will be delighted by the drink menu, which includes not just mimosas and bellinis and Bloody Marys, but a grapefruit julep (similar to a greyhound, truth be told) and a Texas screwdriver (made with Tito’s). But the dishes stand out even more.
Among the Southern specialties making an appearance are chicken and waffles (the signature fried chicken, with a fluffy Belgian waffle and sugar-cane syrup) and the short rib hash (exquisite, with the beef braised crisply and sunny-side eggs on top). Some of the other items, though familiar, raise the bar.
Sissy’s Benedict is a crab cake pregnant with thick crab meat perched on a corn pone muffin and capped with poached eggs and a slice of jalapeno (for a Texas flair). The hollandaise — here as well as on the eggs Sardou — is so rich that you could serve it on cat litter and cardboard and it would make them taste delicious.
Best of the entrees, though, is the chicken and dumplings, a kind of chicken stew in a cast iron pot, with tiny dumplings lurking like matzoh amid the creamy base and succulent, uncommonly flavorful brined chicken. And for looks alone, the grapefruit brulee (a steal at $4) makes the table soar with its colorful finish and sweet-sour double whammy.
For now, Sissy’s will serve brunch only on Saturdays, but if Garza has her way, it won’t be long until it opens for Sundays as well … and perhaps even all week long. We can deal. Brunch is second nature to us.