Take a moment to recall the breakfast sandwich of your youth. Was it served on an English muffin or a buttermilk biscuit? Did you prefer fatty strips of bacon, greasy sausage patties or a combination of both? What cheese held your morning kick-starter together: cheddar? Pepper Jack? American?
However long it’s been since that last breakfast sandwich, the creation has endured, and a new addition to the New Orleans dining scene is serving a delicious reminder.
At Molly’s Rise and Shine, the Grand Slam McMuffin couldn’t be more clear about its quest for Americana appeal, either in its name or the miniature paper American flag stuck on top. An exercise in decadence, the breakfast sandwich combines a sage sausage patty, a thick plank of fried hash browns, sweet, griddled onions, ketchup and plenty of melted American cheese between English muffin halves.
At Molly’s, owner Mason Hereford is doing for breakfast what he has done for lunch at Turkey and the Wolf, his cheeky and wildly successful Irish Channel sandwich shop.
His team’s sophomore effort opened in the Garden District, in the former home to Magazine Street Po-Boy Shop. Its menu and decor make conspicuous nods to youth culture of the ’80s and early ’90s. Little Mermaid lunch boxes, Mr. Potato Head toys and Candyland and Chutes and Ladders board games line the shelves decorating the cheery spot.
Though retro styling forms an overarching theme, the quality and creativity of the dishes here are contemporary and fresh. Tucked under a mountain of green herbs, whirled peas on toast is among the lighter dishes on the menu, but a decadent slather of whipped feta creates a creamy and delicious base for toppings including white onions, roasted garlic and toasted almond slivers. There also are mint and dill sprigs and cured egg yolks, and the assembly is layered and lively.
A tostada takes deviled eggs south of the border with “Cotija (cheese) whipped egg mousse stuff,” refried beans and a medley of cilantro, red onions and lime. The dish gets serious heat from an addictively good spicy peanut salsa and pickled banana peppers, which add tang and dimension. The portion is snack-sized, and several items listed as “All-Star Classics” are smaller and seem like they should be listed as appetizers or sides.
Also among the Classics, a sweet potato burrito is built for large appetites. A thick flour tortilla encases sweet potato fries, scallion cream cheese and honey. Arugula, chow chow and sliced jalapeno add brightness and spice.
Many items feel like an acid trip of color, flavor, texture and dimension, but a few breakfast staples and a selection of simple side dishes offer more straightforward appeal. Bacon is dark brown and crispy, a pile of collard greens offers slightly sweet but vinegary punch, and flaky and dense biscuits are served with ramekins of butter and marmalade. These dishes offer comfort in simplicity, but the real attraction here goes beyond a plate of over-easy eggs and bacon. Molly’s Rise and Shine’s winning touches are delivered through the kitchen’s creative takes on breakfast dishes that fuse nostalgia and culinary finesse.
So go ahead and start your day with a trip down memory lane. Order the Grand Slam McMuffin and dine under the watchful gaze of a life-size Beetlejuice cutout, but also taste how far breakfast has come.