Jan. 11, 2012 10:40

Brunch every day at the Screaming Rooster

2012-01-06 11.50.29

First off, there are no actual screaming roosters at the Screaming Rooster, the downtown Winston-Salem boutique eatery occupying the space formerly known as Mary’s of Course — which is fi ne by me, though sometimes I do wish for more of that type of derring-do in the Triad restaurant scene.

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

The Screaming Rooster is actually quite tasteful inside: A recent early lunch hour revealed long curtains over the windows, with a dozen or so tables scattered sparsely about the fl oor — in a pinch they could add a couple more of they needed to. The smells of bacon and coffee emanate from behind the partition that separates the dining room from the kitchen. Weekend dinners, my server tells me, are starting to take off. There’s usually a 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 the cinnamon-raisin French toast languishing on the specials board among the sandwiches, salads and soups. Then for a minute I’m thinking the beef stew. Finally, I settle on the breakfast quesadilla, made today with pumpkin, Swiss cheese and black beans.

The Rooster shares the ethos of the previous tenants, sticking to locally sourced ingredients and building the menu around them, and though the list is a tad smaller, there is defi nitely something for everyone, from barbecue to tofu.

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

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

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

In the deconstruction of the entrée, I can spot the thin chunks of pumpkin amid the debris, but at fi rst I can barely discern their subtle addition to the overall fl avor. And then there it is, fl at and earthy, adding starchy heft to 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 bark on the surface. If I could make tortillas like this I would never leave the house.

I’m also impressed by the sugar bowl, which may sound a little strange until 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 of chemicals. The white ones are bleached and processed. The Screaming Rooster has the green packets. That’s a good thing: The green packets are made of stevia, an all-natural sweetener that rates a zero on the glycemic index, 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 of the craft weekend dinners. But most likely it will be for brunch, and probably on a Wednesday or something. Because brunch every day is hard to come by — far less common, even, than actual screaming roosters.

wanna go?

The Screaming Rooster
301 Brookstown Ave.,