Let us count all the obstacles Tom’s Urban 24 had to overcome to impress me at a media preview Fri. morning: 1) American-style breakfasts bore me; most egg dishes leave me cold, and my sweet tooth, limited as it is even come dessert, positively shrinks into the cavity before dinner. Also, bacon shmacon. 2) While I recognize that eponymous owner Tom Ryan’s résumé is remarkable—apparently he invented Pizza Hut’s stuffed-crust pizza and McDonald’s McGriddles before founding Smashburger—my assiduous avoidance of all things franchised means I’ve never experienced any of its highlights for myself. 3) I was resoundingly hungover.
But like that, like that, like that, the Samba Room’s replacement on Larimer Square cleared those hurdles lickety-split. Provided the kitchen can realize the potential it showed today on a 24/7 basis, treating paying customers the way it treated us, this place is gonna be a huge hit.
The look skews retro,
but the mural reveals a thoroughly modern concern for local sourcing (those commodity-shaped magnets can be moved around to indicate where the ingredients are coming from at any given time).
Admirable as that may be, it pales in comparison to the use of that most massive of mass-produced foodstuffs, boxed cereal, as a squealingly delightful topping for warm, fresh, stickily glazed doughnuts whose airy-crumbed texture & lightly buttery savor was utterly dreamy. Flavors will change daily, but I adored the Cap’n Crunch embedded into white icing (ditto Froot Loops); the chipotle-chocolate—rich but not too sweet, the heat filtering through subtly toward the finish; & the maple-bacon, which, yes, even I appreciated for its 2-toned lusciousness. Unresponsive sweet tooth, melted.
All the further by housemade Pop Tarts, whose fillings—both sweet & savory—will also rotate on a daily basis; we tried vibrant apple, strawberry, &, my favorite, the deeply intense, at once dark & creamy fig & goat cheese. But here too, it was the texture of the pastry above all, tender & delicately flaky, that won me over.
Pancake flavors will change daily as well, from red velvet & poppyseed-lemon to pumpkin spice & banana-caramel (pictured); I didn’t try this stack, but Eater’s Adam Larkey was practically swooning.
Pal @MO_242‘s Treehugger Benedict with avocado & (added) bacon was perfectly respectable,
but my 4-egg chorizo-&-green chile omelet was even better, I thought. Yet again, texture made all the difference; the dry ingredients—chorizo, green chile, blue-corn tortilla chips—were chopped as fine as confetti, while the 3 cheeses oozed out from every angle, giving the springy, fluffy eggs an almost casserole-like aspect (as Mo rightly pointed out). The jam is made in house—with butter. What?!
A quick glimpse of the corned-beef hash, clearly chock-full of veggies.
In short, color me happily impressed indeed, and hopeful that quality control will remain a high priority. With the start of the film festival next week, believe you me I’ll be heading back for walnut-bourbon caramel corn, matzoh-fried chicken with green chile gravy, & maybe even a WTF cocktail or 2 just for giggles (look it up). See ya there.