Daps Breakfast & Imbibe occupies a bright, Westside single renovated into something straight out of an Urban Outfitters catalog. Effortlessly trendy bordering on so-cool-they’re-not-even-trying, the menu similarly focuses on the breakfasts of champions: You know, English muffin egg sandwiches, pancakes, and booze.
Brunch to me is like sex to most men: Even when it’s bad and sloppy, it’s still all right, and I’ll probably finish it. On that note, the Chickpea Folded Egg Sandwich ($7), is a serious mouthful that’s a serious mouthful. In it, a light, beautifully cooked omelette-style egg is folded into quarters and placed within a substantial English muffin. Doughy in a good way, the muffin stands up to the lightly fried, yet still mushy chickpea patty. Teeming with pliant, whole garbanzo beans and tasting lightly of fennel, it’s paired with sweet sorghum mayo. Nimble, yet hearty, this is a simple and filling option.
In contrast, the banh mi F.E.S. ($10) — like any banh mi worth its Sriracha — is a sparkplug. Flush with tangy pickled vegetables, bright cilantro, and creamy pork mousse, it’s like a Saigon-style wake up call. Although mine was made with (rather salty) bacon instead of the glazed pork belly noted on the menu, the sandwich still more than held its own.
Speaking of which, the Big Meaty hash ($10 half/$16 whole) is all about that swine. Now I don’t know about you, but when I think of ‘hash’, the image of bits of corned beef fried with diced potatoes, onions, and spices comes to mind. At Daps, hash seems to be more a shorthand for hash browns. The Standard Hash[browns] ($7 half/$10 whole) consist of grated potatoes mixed with sliced onion and topped with cheese sauce: Scattered, smothered, and covered, if you will. With the Big Meaty, lose the cheese sauce in favor of a generous portion of chopped ham, bacon, and ground sausage. There’s a 1:1 pig to potatoes ratio, with an intense salty finish. Rated in terms of salinity, I would say ham, followed by bacon, with sausage bringing up the brackish rear. It’s also a bit dry, and I’d highly recommend adding an egg ($1.50) or two to temper things out.
Similarly, the special hash[browns] ($8 half/$14 whole) find the same grated potatoes cooked up with roasted garlic, shallots, and firm green peas, then topped with a dollop of cold ricotta cheese. Moister and more nuanced than the Big Meaty, it works as served and doesn’t seem to require balance from an added egg. All the same, I have to imagine a little cheese sauce ($1) never killed anyone.
Whether the availability of copious amounts of breakfast-focused alcohol options is a sign of the prosperity or misery of a nation, I couldn’t really tell you. Nonetheless, Daps Breakfast & Imbibe has it right there in the name, and options range from mimosas on tap ($8) and pitchers of Charles Towne Fermentory ‘Ralf’ beer to “breakfast wine,” including a magnum of Sentier rosé ($50). If tying one on at 8:30 a.m. on a Tuesday will cure what ails you, the doctor is in.
If the doctor is more into fiber, then the ‘Cakes, Puddings & Pies’ section of the menu may beckon. Don’t get too excited, there’s not a lick of pie, let alone pudding, but four types of pancakes and one Croque Madame French Toast ($11) option. Along with the Fruity Pebble ($10) and coffee cake (Sweet Caroline $10) varietals, the Apple Jack pancakes ($10) offer a reason to re-embrace carbs for breakfast. Sweet, but not cloyingly so — the cakes themselves are at once light and hearty. The apple compote is like the best part of a pie, with soft, spicy, skin-on fruit rendering the syrup unnecessary. Sprinkled with Apple Jack cereal dust — the sweet, slightly fake flavor comes through at the end — it’s all the upside of a saccharine-y childhood memory without the sugar hangover.
Apparently a recent addition to the menu, the breakfast succotash ($10) hits my own fast-breaking sweet spot. Reminiscent of a lentil stew, the Sea Island red peas are cooked to a soft texture along with chunks of eggplant, onion, tomato, and yellow squash. Topped with fresh arugula, thin slices of lightly salted radishes, and a baked, sunny side up egg, it’s simple and comforting, yet not too heavy. Served with a thick slice of buttered sourdough toast, this may be new, but it will be my go-to as long as it remains.
Breakfast, brunch, and upscale day drinking are the new black, and Daps Breakfast & Imbibe is hip to the trends. The food is familiar, yet creative, and there is booze for days. Between the chic, friendly ambiance and the simplified, appealing menu, it’s probably only a matter of time until there’s a line regularly snaking around the block.