WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
Breakfast cafes, when they are good at all, are treasured by their regular customers. Coulis has a large cadre of those, a mix of Uptowners and people who work at the nearby Touro medical complex. On weekends in particular, the place usually imposes a wait on its customers, so popular is it.
WHAT’S GOOD As celebrated as Coulis is by its fans, the menu is brief and basic. Eggs simple or flowing with hollandaise, omelettes, pancakes, French toast. . . that’s about it. Oh, yes: they still keep the huevos rancheros tradition going, although less than brilliantly. Lunch is even more straightforward: burgers and a few other sandwiches, salads, soups. Specials have a Spanish Caribbean tilt.
Coulis got off to a running start by taking over the vacated premises of the Bluebird Cafe in 2009. The Bluebird built a large, loyal following in its decade of putting out a New Age style of breakfast–making huevos rancheros popular, among other achievements. Owner-chef James Leeming–native of Nicaragua and alumnus of Commander’s Palace, Brigtsen’s, Dickie Brennan’s restaurants and Dick & Jenny’s–streamlined the Bluebird style but kept the rustic, breakfast-and-lunch soul of the place intact. He passed away suddenly in 2011, but his wife Heather–who managed everything but the kitchen–took over.
The premises consist of a long, well-worn room, in which one of the major considerations is how to handle the overflow at busy times. (This is not something that either Coulis or Bluebird did well, but where does one put the surplus of customers over seats and servers? It all gives the feeling of having found a secret best kept to oneself.
DOZEN BEST DISHES, DESCRIBED
Breakfast sandwich (eggs, cheese, bacon,croissant).
Eggs Creole (scrambled, sausage gravy, grilled tomato, cheese grits).
Poached eggs and housemade corned beef hash, hollandaise.
Tenderloin steak and eggs, hash browns, onion gravy.
Smoked salmon, cream cheese, red onion, tomato, avocado, capers, grilled bagel, beets.
Yogurt and fresh fruit.
Chicken salad du jour.
Soup du jour.
Grilled Cuban sandwich (pulled pork, smoked ham, pickles, Gruyere cheese, mustard, chipotle mayo, sourdough bread).
Grilled Reuben sandwich on rye.
Pulled pork quesadilla.
FOR BEST RESULTS
If what you want is good food, come on a weekday, when the place isn’t overwhelmed. The more complicated egg dishes are the best.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
The menu could use refreshment and a bit more variety.
FACTORS OTHER THAN FOOD
Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.
- Dining Environment
- Consistency +1
- Value +1
- Wine & Bar
- Hipness +2
- Local Color +1
- Sidewalk tables
- Open Sunday lunch
- Open Monday lunch
- Good for children
- Easy, nearby parking
- No reservations