Back to Uptown at State & Allen Kitchen+Bar

IMG_1548“They have the only bloody mary bar in Uptown!” Valentine exclaimed while scouring the web for online menus, looking for our next target restaurant for A Brunching of Gays.

“Oh,” I said, “I didn’t realize you were such a fan of bloody marys.”

“I’m not,” Valentine deadpanned.

And thus began our hot-cold relationship with State & Allen Kitchen+Bar.

First the hot elements. There’s a definite energy to the place, even on a rainy Sunday afternoon. The crowd is a mix of gay-straight, groups and couples, hipster and homebody. And it’s in the emergingly cool Uptown enclave of State-Thomas.

And the food we tasted gets good marks … so far as that goes. We opted for a build-your-own pizza, loaded heavy with Italian sausage, spinach, black olives and jalapenos. The combo worked well, and the crisp crust held up to our toppings. The molten chocolate cake hit the spot predictably well, and the mimosas — which were light on O.J., powerful with bubbly — left us happily dazed.

But then there’s the cold: We got the pizza specifically because the brunch-specific offerings were sparse. Valentine is not much of a consumer of eggs, and brunch here is literally infested with them. Of the more than two-dozen items on the weekend bill-of-fare, only two — the French toast and the chicken and waffles — do not feature egg or egg white as the central component. That’s like a cocktail menu made up nearly entirely of vodka drinks.

Perhaps worse, the service was, by most standards, appallingly unattentive. Our water glasses were never refilled, placing our initial food order required just shy of sending up a signal flare and getting our check at the end bordered on a diplomatic mission to a remote embassy.

All these issues, finally, struck us as lukewarm: The space is strangely cavernous, with multiple rooms that all have windows opening on the street, but can evoke a speakeasy vibe with unmarked doors and low-key signage. The gastropub-style food we tried was a selling point, and the rest of the menu posited some intriguing possibilities. Heck, we might consider going back to check out the nighttime appeal. But brunch? Just for the mimosas, please.

— Arnold Wayne Jones

2400 Allen St. Sunday brunch served from 10 a.m.–3 p.m.

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This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 22, 2016.