My favorite band played at Kastles Stadium at the Wharf a few weeks ago, and afterwards a group of us staggered from the tennis court down the street to Station 4 for some late-night grub. We didn’t realize what a swanky place it was until we piled into our red patent leather booth and started knocking over all the glassware on the table.
After that semi-ridiculous night, I figured I better go back and check it out for real, and perhaps make amends for causing so much chaos in such a serene restaurant. So I planned a big brunch.
Little did I know it was to be a week of natural disasters. First an earthquake, which scared the living shit out of me, and then a hurricane, which just reinforced my belief that the world was, in fact, ending. Nonetheless, during the beginning hours of last weekend’s downpours, eight of my Bitches drove from miles around to the Southwest Waterfront to gather for a pre-hurricane brunch. I even had a friend fly in from Florida for the weekend. Oh, the irony.
Outside, the weather was already roaring. I nearly lost my favorite polka-dot umbrella running from the car. But inside, the restaurant was calm and soothing. Frank Sinatra was crooning, candles were twinkling, and a modern horizontal fireplace was burning at the end of the dining room. The waiters and hosts were cool as cucumbers. We had the place to ourselves—and the staff, I think, were pleased that such a large group had turned up on such a disastrous weather day.
Station 4 is very swanky on the surface. Someone clearly put a lot of effort into the décor: beautiful lighting fixtures, glittering chandeliers, plush armchairs, and shiny booths. Plus, it has a lovely outdoors patio for when the weather is nice. Unfortunately, the brunch just doesn’t live up to the atmosphere. Everything is so inviting, but where’s my breadbasket or choice of appetizers? Where’s my bottomless drinks?
My Benedict Oscar was just odd. It was one big hunk of meat (sirloin steak) on top of two half English muffins with poached eggs on the top. All that was topped with sautéed crabmeat, asparagus and béarnaise sauce. Quite a construction, but unfortunately the steak was tough, gritty, and not cooked to my specifications; the eggs were overcooked and not runny enough; and the sauce was mediocre. Strikes one, two, three. But perhaps the other Bennys are better: There’s a classic version and a salmon version to choose from; the salmon one perched on a bagel.
The omelets were sadly average, as well. The Mardi Gras omelet, filled with smoked Andouille sausage, red peppers, crawfish and scallions, topped with delicate, tomato-hollandaise sauce, was actually a bit bland. The Andouille sausage and crawfish inside were good, but they weren’t mixed with the eggs and there wasn’t much meat in there. Most of the dish was made up of egg.
The French toast was so sweet it didn’t need the syrup. It was topped with powdered sugar, bacon and maple syrup. Pretty standard.
One glimmer of menu hope came in the huevos rancheros. Made with crispy corn tortillas smothered with vegetarian refried beans, two over-medium eggs, avocado, white cheese and ranchera sauce—it wasn’t that bad. The cheese was unusual and delicious, but the whole dish was a little salty. Was it the best huevos rancheros we’ve ever had? No. But it was alright. And certainly the most adventurous dish on the menu.
The drink situation made me a little sad. I was ready to booze, as I knew I’d be trapped in my apartment building for the next 24 hurricane-fueled hours. But there was no bottomless deal or drinks specials to be found at this brunch. At $7 a pop, the bloody Marys are average (though they did whip up a virgin Mary for my pregnant Florida friend). The mimosas cost the same, though they are served in large white wine glasses, which I always appreciate.
The service was great—we were well taken care of, and coffee came before we even asked (we had just mentioned to one another how much we needed it, and the waiter overheard us). Plus, one of my Bitches arrived a half hour late and the kitchen made the extra effort to get her order out within five minutes of everyone else’s. That being said, this excellent service might have been due to the fact that the place was nearly deserted.
The Bitches say: C+ Great atmosphere and service, but blah food. What this place needs is a solid bottomless deal. It would surpass the mediocre food and boring menu.
1101 Fourth Street SW