- THE GOOD: Southern comfort food.
- THE BAD: terrible service!
- THE NEIGHBORHOOD: Redmond, Greater Seattle.
If you are Number One, better watch your Six.
China, for example, aims to surpass America as the world’s Number One economy; and despite problems of “high inequality, rapid urbanization…and external imbalances,” brought on by the country’s rapid economic ascension, China continues to accelerate growth. (Source: World Bank China Overview, World Bank Org)
Observing super powers may stand too grand a gesture for this little website.
But we cannot neglect a similar growth in Seattle, attested by heavy housing demand inside–and outside–the city. (Source: Home Prices Climbing Fastest in Region’s Most Affordable Spots, Seattle Times)
So what, exactly, do we convey?
Message is: as Seattleites migrate to the East Side of Lake Washington, so might their urbanite appetites. And in Redmond, home of Microsoft’s campus and one of the East Side’s most prominent neighborhoods, Pomegranate Cafe dominates the “urbanite-foodie” scene–right now. But will it prevail when competition, following urbanites’ migration, customized for their appetites and fierce like China’s economic ascension, come pressuring in?
Surely owner Lisa Dupar prepared adequately.
After all, the veteran chef, with 30 years of culinary experience, a successful catering company and restaurant and an award-winning cookbook, knows what she wants and how to get it.
“Growing up (in Georgia), Lisa always knew she wanted to be a chef,” her bio says; and trust she attempts to build.
Yet her restaurant made only fairish first impression.
Parking is plentiful outside the restaurant, which shares the same corporate park building as Dupar’s catering company. Despite homey decorations inside, the “Southern experience” draped an aloof curtain.
A 20-minute wait on the restaurant side left the bar more suitable choice.
Request for better-lit table was denied because, according to the young and unenthusiastic hostess, that table reserved to seat four, not two. Yet 20 minutes later, two–TWO–women sat there.
After dumping us at an undesirable location, the hostess cackled aloud while slapping high-five’s with the waiter, instilling in us discomfort and inquisition: is this high school?
Another and even less enthusiastic waiter took our order.
Slightly rolling his eyes during the process.
(More eye rolling occurred among staff during our meal, by the way.)
Disconnected were the bar-side employees, and an atmosphere of near hostility they created.
Poor use of space crammed guests.
We elbowed neighbors on both sides, sitting so close to them that we might as well join their conversations.
Then, the stained menu below.
It was gross.
Also the sugar box.
Observe how the sugar cubes sat next to the packets, wholly exposed.
Yet we had faith in the food.
Though other guests bolted before giving it a chance.
Savannah Hot Puffs arrived first.
They took time but delivered in beautiful presentation: four plump sugar-dusted puffs resting atop glitsening glaze and next to lush whipped cream. They tasted of pure delight: creamy filling, crispy bread and delicate ginger-lemon sauce.
Equally delightful were the candied ginger lemon oatcakes.
Supple, dense and wholesome, each piece stood a-half-an-inch tall, blending faintly-sweet oatmeal, honey-tinted butter, organic maple syrup, and impressions of ginger.
(Price: full stack, 13; half stack, 8)
Lastly, the Pomegranate Breakfast Plate.
It included choice of eggs, meat, toast, hash browns or grits.
Lucky we chose grits, which embodied (our interpretation of) Southern comfort food: velvety corn meal mildly enhanced by butter, salt, garlic and sprinkles of chives. Otherwise, the meal flopped due to bland eggs, burnt bacon and hardened toast. Fresh apricot spread was nice but couldn’t save such damaged toast.
We possess meager stature.
Qualified to eat, not to judge. But what of the frustrated couple who left before ordering? And others who complained about their food and the tight space?
Pomegranate’s pillar meals (cream puffs, oatcakes, etc) were great; but greatness, in context of neighborhood brunch, encompasses more than tasty food.
Surely owner Lisa Dupar knows that.
As our experience came to an end, the waiter came over, reached his big arm across the table and grabbed the check–merchant’s copy with a tip on it of course.
He didn’t even wait for us to leave!
So, our last inquisition goes:
WHERE IS YOUR DAMN SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY!
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18005 NE 68th Street
Redmond, WA 98052
Mon: 7am – 2pm
Tues – Fri: 7am – 10pm
Sat: 9am – 10pm
Sun: 9am – 2pm
Brunch served Sat & Sun | 9am – 2pm
Limited Breakfast Mon – Fri | 7am – 10am