Brunch every day at the Screaming Rooster

by Brian Clarey

First off, there are no actual screaming roosters at theScreaming Rooster, the downtown Winston-Salemboutique eatery occupying the space formerly knownas Mary’s of Course — which is fi ne by me, thoughsometimes I do wish for more of that type of derring-do in the Triadrestaurant scene.

And it has nothing to do with Greensboro’s Iron Hen restaurant, savethat they’re both named after tough, edible fowl and take similar approachesto the locavore movement.

The Screaming Rooster is actually quite tasteful inside: A recent earlylunch hour revealed long curtains over the windows, with a dozen or sotables scattered sparsely about the fl oor — in a pinch they could add acouple more of they needed to. The smells of bacon and coffee emanatefrom behind the partition that separates the dining room from the kitchen.Weekend dinners, my server tells me, are starting to take off. There’s usuallya solid lunch business, and plenty of takers for the weeklong brunch.

That’s what I’m here for today, and I’m almost lured in by thecinnamon-raisin French toast languishing on the specials board amongthe sandwiches, salads and soups. Then for a minute I’m thinking thebeef stew. Finally, I settle on the breakfast quesadilla, made today withpumpkin, Swiss cheese and black beans.

The Rooster shares the ethos of the previous tenants, sticking to locallysourced ingredients and building the menu around them, and thoughthe list is a tad smaller, there is defi nitely something for everyone, frombarbecue to tofu.

But seriously. Who puts pumpkin in a quesadilla? Do they even havepumpkins in Mexico?

I’m all for fusion. I love counterintuitive combinations. And I’ll eatanything with melted cheese in it. But I’ll be honest: I’m kind of sweatingthe pumpkin.

The dish arrives at my table: house tortillas, house salsa, house guacamole,with a couple perfectly runny fried eggs and fresh sprigs of cilantroon top. It’s beautiful, and when I hack and mash it together, completelydelicious.

In the deconstruction of the entrée, I can spot the thin chunks of pumpkinamid the debris, but at fi rst I can barely discern their subtle addition tothe overall fl avor. And then there it is, fl at and earthy, adding starchy heftto the dish as well.

But in my mind it’s the tortillas that make this dish. They’re hearty,thick, coarse… grilled to a pleasing elasticity and with a tasty, crisp barkon the surface. If I could make tortillas like this I would never leave thehouse.

I’m also impressed by the sugar bowl, which may sound a little strangeuntil I explain.

Every restaurant sugar bowl has little white packets of sugar in them,and also… something else. Sometimes it’s pink. Sometimes it’s blue.Sometimes it’s yellow. The pink, blue and yellow ones are made ofchemicals. The white ones are bleached and processed. The ScreamingRooster has the green packets. That’s a good thing: The green packets aremade of stevia, an all-natural sweetener that rates a zero on the glycemicindex, has no carbohydrates and doesn’t taste even a little bit like poison.I appreciate their decision.

And I’ll be back. Maybe for a salad or some soup. Maybe for one ofthe craft weekend dinners. But most likely it will be for brunch, and probablyon a Wednesday or something. Because brunch every day is hard tocome by — far less common, even, than actual screaming roosters.

wanna go?

The Screaming Rooster301 Brookstown Ave.,