Keep on The Sunny Side: The all-day breakfast spread might include migas, brisket hash, a berries-and-cream banana split, and well-pulled drinks from the espresso machine. Kevin Marple

Restaurant Review

The Statler’s Overeasy Has the Soul of a Diner and the Ambition of a Chef

Near-perfect omelettes, along with perfect biscuits and eggs, are being served up at the downtown diner from Graham Dodds.

With Overeasy, The Statler laid a golden egg. They had the good sense to hire Graham Dodds, whose chef’s touches had been denied us since Wayward Sons closed last year. Now he’s back in the kitchen, sending out perfect omelets: clouds of eggs and Parmesan that have formed a spiritual pact with finely chopped chives. His are proper French-style omelets, creamy inside, the fluffy hull a smooth canary yellow without a hint of browning, as though they’ve somehow levitated out of the pan.

Biscuits—flaky, bronzed, with buttery heft—are receptive to the graces of a light cream gravy. Skip the awkward version with chicken tenders and instead choose sausage or shaved honey ham. Or see Dodds at work finessing mushrooms, topping juicy baby portobello caps with a sprinkle of Espelette pepper, and opt for the vegetarian version. Because although an omelet can be good for the soul, sometimes a chef’s ambitions are best expressed in a biscuit.

We needed this. We needed a cheerful, all-day breakfast spot downtown, where we could tuck into a booth and agree on fundamentals. It’s pleasant to sit on a quiet morning with a view of Main Street Garden Park, through windows that drench the space in sunlight, listening to the whir of the espresso machine.

In this chef’s playground with the soul of a diner, Dodds is a familiar presence, expediting at the pass. Plating is clean and precise, and orders come out vibrant with riotous colors. What he’s calling “New Mexi-pho” soup is a lush, velvety chile verde that carries the verve of green chiles and lime, tangy and bright, with tender shreds of confit chicken.

On his plate of steak and eggs, the bacon jam that snuggles with warm marble potato salad is a weapon from his no-touch-too-small arsenal against the ordinary. Creole mustard joins in, igniting things alongside a zesty chimichurri and a tricolor fan of pickled onions. The potatoes have seen the crisping heat of the pan that has turned them into medallions of tawny, golden goodness. It’s a plate so pretty you hardly want to eat it. Dodds uses bavette, the top flap of the sirloin. I’d rather something thinnerskirt or hanger. But the cut is undeniably juicy, with a gorgeous sear.

A smaller space and menu does nothing to curb Dodds’ generous habits. The quintet of deviled eggs is the work of an overachiever, one a composition of piquillo peppers, another creamy and laced with brisket. The grilled cheese sandwich marries Pyrenees P’tit Basque and apples. And the individually portioned banana cream pie is a delicious fortress, with a billowing top of toasted Italian meringue, assembled to order so it’s pure cool-warm bliss. The bottom line is both simple and noble: Dodds is back to make you perfect biscuits and eggs.

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