I’m a big fan of aggregate review sites. My favorite food-related one is Urbanspoon, and I will check reviews on Yelp on occasion, though I take them with a grain of salt. The information I’ve found has been very beneficial, especially when researching places to eat while traveling. However, they can steer you wrong on occasion. People can be spiteful, and all it takes is one table with a little internet knowledge and an over-inflated sense of entitlement to skew a restaurant’s rating. If an eatery is relatively new and has only been rated by a handful of people, a group of three or four vindictive types can really impact a star or percentage rating.
When my roommate suggested Joe Momma’s for breakfast one day, I shot her down pretty quickly. The restaurant had a very good score on Yelp, but only due to a number of extremely negative reviews being “filtered” (translate: not counted against their overall score), and their Urbanspoon rating was, and still is, low. Some time later, she finally ended up going with her father and came back determined to get me to try the place. Now I don’t always agree with this woman’s tastes, but one of the few things we agree on is our love of breakfast. So far we’ve seen eye to eye on every place we’ve gone to eat it, from our love of Goldy’s to our outright hatred of The Griddle. Needless to say, her insistence finally won me over. As usual.
So it came to pass that one chilly weekend morning she headed to Joe Momma’s after working night shift, and I dragged myself out of bed to meet her there. What I had taken away from the negative reviews I’d read online was that I might have a bit of a wait ahead of me, and that the prices would likely be a little higher than at similar eateries. I’ve begun thinking of this as the “Eagle Surcharge”, meaning that if the same restaurant were located in Meridian or near the mall for example, the pricing structure would probably be slightly different. Personally, I think it’s worth paying a little extra if the food is good and it’s close to home. Especially that early in the morning. After being served some good, strong, tasty black coffee, I settled in to look at the menu. It took some agonizing internal debate, but I finally settled on the Green Eggs and Ham Omelette, while the roommate ended up choosing the Big Breakfast Burrito.
|Big Breakfast Burrito|
They aren’t lying when they say their breakfast burrito is big, either. It’s house potatoes, choice of protein, salsa, cheese, sour cream and three eggs in a big flour tortilla. To be honest, I don’t even remember if I tried this because I was only about 70% awake and I fell so hard in love with my own meal, but it certainly looked and smelled good, and the roomie (something of a breakfast burrito aficionado) really enjoyed it. Speaking of my meal…
|Green Eggs and Ham Omelette|
The Green Eggs and Ham Omelette may not be appropriately named (since neither the eggs nor ham are green), but it is pretty wonderful regardless. It’s a three egg affair containing baked ham, Muenster cheese (criminally underused as a breakfast ingredient), and fire-roasted green chilies, with sour cream and salsa on the side. In addition to this monster, I paid a slight upcharge to replace the normal potato options with their not-on-the-menu-but-seemingly-always-available hash brown casserole. For my bread side, I opted for the French toast. You read all that correctly, and trust me when I say you won’t need another meal for a while if you order this one.
|French Toast on an oversized plate|
“Bread side” or no, this was my favorite thing of about that first visit. It was hands down the absolute best French toast I’ve ever had in a restaurant. It wasn’t coated in anything special, or served with any kind of super interesting syrup, it was just a perfect example of standard French toast. If we ever manage to create that sci-fi technology where you tell a computer what you want to eat and it materializes out of thin air, this is what should show up if you ask for generic French toast.
|Kid’s waffle breakfast with egg and bacon|
So, of course it wasn’t long before we returned, this time taking the roommate’s kids. The five year-old has pretty wide-ranging tastes, but the tween may be the pickiest eater I’ve ever come across. Both of them were very happy at Joe Momma’s. In between bites, the little one said “It’s good here.” On this visit, both of the grown-ups ordered The Classic: choice of bacon or sausage (link or patty), two eggs, choice of house potatoes or hash browns, and bread selection (toast, biscuit, French toast or pancake). What I really wanted was the Steelhead Scramble, but it’s probably not the best choice early in the morning when you’re with three people who don’t care much for fish.
|The Classic with scrambled eggs, bacon and hash brown casserole|
The scrambled eggs are good (I don’t think you should be able to call a breakfast joint good if they can’t make decent scrambled eggs), and the bacon is a real winner. Smokey, crispy, peppery and just all-around delicious.
|The Classic with over-medium eggs, house potatoes and sausage patty|
Once again, terrific eggs, and they go out of their way to make it obvious that the sausage patty is made in-house. And yes, it’s yummy as well. But the standout item this time around was the house potatoes. Cooked perfectly, crispy on the outside and intensely savory, I loved them so much that I don’t think I’ll ever order a different potato option again. On her second visit, the tween asked if she could have her mother’s “potato scraps”, the errant little crispy bits that Mommy was simply too full to polish off.
I paid a little extra to upgrade my plate-sized “bread side” to a blueberry pancake. I thought there might have been a mistake when they brought it out, but all the blueberries were just hiding at the bottom, and there are a LOT of them. Another simply great item, and even though I don’t enjoy it overall as much as I did the French toast, I’ve ordered it the two times we’ve returned since. In fact, I’ve ordered the exact same breakfast both times, despite my continuing desire to try the Steelhead Scramble. I’m also intensely curious about the Country Bennie (biscuit topped with sausage patties, cheesy eggs and sausage gravy), and the Chorizo, Jalapeno and Tomato Hash. And of course, Chicken Fried Steak is a good measure of a breakfast eatery. I wanted to try some of these before doing my write-up, but I seem to be stuck on The Classic and the roommate is insisting that four visits is more than enough to do a review. The only complaints I’ve had out of four visits is that the butter could be a little softer and the house potatoes weren’t quite as crispy the last time, and that’s the best I can do to come up with anything negative about the place. So, I guess just keep an eye on my Facebook page for pics when I finally branch out to the rest of the menu. Or better yet, just go yourself.
|I love the egg mural…|
Food: Pretty much excellent across the board. This is my new favorite breakfast place. A+
Value: There are cheaper breakfasts to be had, but you get what you pay for. A
Service: Not sure where the complaints are coming from, but I’ve had no problems. A
Atmosphere: Can get busy (and therefore a little loud) at times, but deservedly so. A-
Final Grade: A