Thu. September 13, 2012 12:00 AM
by Rick Karlin
There are some spaces that just don't seem to be successful places for restaurants. The building in which Kanela is housed is just such an example. After a fairly long run as a gay bar (BJ's) it served as a coffeehouse (Café Voltaire) and a breakfast place (Orange). The creative menu of Kanela, and its recently added dinner hours, may allow it survive where others have failed, but only if the service improves.
Kanela originated as a breakfast and lunch spot and the menu still leans heavily in that direction. If you're looking for a new take on some classic favorites this is the place to stop. We began our meal with an order of Kanela's take on the classic monkey bread (balls of dough rolled in sugar and cinnamon) and found it to be delightfully addictive. Luckily, the serving size is perfect for two, so we couldn't stuff ourselves on it, even though we wanted to. That combined with a most excellent cup of joe, started my morning off right.
Our entrees took some time to arrive, but were well worth the wait. Red velvet French toast is as decadent as it sounds. The classic cake is served as one would a jellyroll, with cream cheese frosting in place of the standard filling. Three one inch-thick spirals are dipped in egg batter and fried, then topped with fresh strawberries and crème anglaise. So what if the dish doesn't have that slightly crisp coating that is found on traditional French toast, it still tastes delicious.
Other great takes on traditional breakfast treats include a waffle studded with bacon and chocolate, topped with bourbon caramel and a sprinkling of bacon infused powdered sugar and banana split crepes featuring fresh strawberries and banana, Nutella and pastry cream.
I'm more of a savory breakfast kind of guy and, while tempted by the spicy feta omelet, quiche Lorraine style scrambled eggs (served with peppered bacon, gruyere cheese and caramelized onions) and Kanela's take on eggs Benedict (slow roasted pork belly, Brussels sprouts, poached eggs, dried cranberries and hollandaise), I eventually went for a burger from the lunch section of the menu.
I sure chose a winner. The lamb burger tops a thick patty of ground lamb with a house-made tzatziki, sauce, kalamata olives, cucumbers and red onion on a puffy potato bun. Offered with a choice of home fries or salad, I thought I'd give a nod to something healthy and opted for the salad of baby greens. Other savory dishes I plan to try on upcoming visits are the open-faced smoked salmon sandwich topped with sunny side eggs and the duck confit hash, or maybe I'll try some lighter fare, such as the BBQ chicken romaine salad with roasted corn and crispy fried onions.
Whatever I choose during my next visits (and I plan many) I'll be certain to sample as many of the dozens of juice blends and smoothies as I can, and maybe even make it over to the cocktail menu.