Eggs Hussarde at Owen Brennan's transports me to the French Quarter in New Orleans.
Everything about Owen Brennan's, including the huge Mardi Gras float decorations with their purple, green and gold colors, evokes New Orleans, but one bite of their Eggs Hussarde evokes a balmy morning in the Crescent City with the smell of chicory coffee and sweet olive blossoms in the air.
There are no blooming sweet olive bushes at Owen Brennan's and the coffee is a French roast (very good, too), but they have a perfect Eggs Hussarde: two soft-poached eggs served on toasted English muffins with Canadian bacon, fried tomato and Marchand de Vin and hollandaise sauces. Brabant potatoes -- New Orleans style deep-fried potatoes -- are the side item.
People generally think of Eggs Hussarde as a breakfast dish, but it's served at lunch and dinner, said Owen Brennan's owner Jim Baker. They've been on the menu basically since the restaurant opened in 1990. That was when chef Burt Wolf was the restaurant's general partner. He made sure the kitchen had enough room between counters for TV cameras for his cooking show, Baker said.
You can find a lot of your favorite New Orleans dishes at Owen Brennan's. Among them are escargot, Oysters Rockefeller, Oysters Bienville and Shrimp Remoulade. "All the Creole favorites; we got that stuff," added Owen Brennan's chef Jody Moyt.
Owen Brennan's is a licensee of the Brennan's New Orleans restaurants. "We pay the Brennans a fee for the use of their name," Baker said.
Owen Brennan's does include dishes, including Eggs Hussarde, which are popular at the New Orleans Brennan's restaurants.
The Brennan family came up with the original recipe for Eggs Hussarde, Baker said. Eggs Benedict, which is made with two English muffins topped with ham, soft poached eggs and hollandaise sauce, already was around. "They thought Eggs Benedict was too ordinary," he said. "They wanted something a little more. So, they added the Marchand de Vin sauce, which goes on top of the Canadian bacon and the tomato. So, the dish looks rich, but it tastes light."
Since I had to go back to work, I drank coffee, but Baker said a Bloody Mary (Owen Brennan's sells regular and a spicier Cajun-style) goes best with the Eggs Hussarde. They sell 60 to 75 Bloody Marys and five cases of Mimosas (orange juice and champagne) during an average Sunday brunch, Baker said.
If you want wine with your Eggs Hussarde, the restaurant also sells a 446 Chardonnay, which Ford Coleman with Athens Distributing described as a Monterey wine with a fruity and buttery taste.
"Butter flavor goes with Eggs Hussarde," Baker added.
Owen Brennan's is at 6150 Poplar Ave., Suite 150; (901) 761-0990.
Michael Donahue: (901) 529-2797; firstname.lastname@example.org