Monica's Goes Deep (Ellum) For Great Brunch

Photos by Andrea Grimes and Man O' The Hour
Monica's unbeatable $2.50 Bloody Mary.
Oak Cliff, you are one lucky neighborhood. Not only are you all buzz-worthy and such with regard to the Super Bowl, you recently were on the receiving end of Monica's Aca Y Alla enchiladic expansion, "BEE," and I hear what they lack in restaurant names that aren't patently embarrassing, they make up for with delicious food. Last Sunday, it was nigh about time for me and the Man O' The Hour to finally check out the original Monica's outpost in our own Deep Ellum.

We were seated promptly in the half-dim restaurant, which was a kindness to my still-sleepy eyes, and quickly provided with the first dose of a surefire hangover cure: chips, salsa and water aplenty. But nothing perked me up faster than seeing $2.50 Bloody Marys on the menu. Dos, pronto!

Our attentive, knowledgeable waiter was back tout de suite with two drinks, rimmed with chili powder and garnished with lime. Bigger than State and Allen's $3 Bloodys, these were also spicier and thicker. For the price, I don't believe you can find a better Bloody in town. For the quality, I'm not sure it would be worth the effort, anyway.

On to the diverse brunch menu, which features Tex-Mex, interior Mexican fare, American dishes and sweet stuff. In fact, the first thing to hit our table, along with the chips and salsa, was a plate of cinnamon-sugar cookies. It was apparent from the very beginning that Monica's takes really good care of its guests. With my stomach figuratively in their literally capable hands, I ordered chilaquiles and the MOTH got the Baja plate, featuring tilapia and scrambled eggs.
My chilaquiles came piled high with chicken and colorful tortilla strips, several servings more than I could ever have hoped to finish over the course of an afternoon, $2.50 Bloody Marys to wash it down notwithstanding. Spicy, however, they were not. Rather, the dish was drenched in queso fresco and crema, which made for a great pairing with the drinks. A to-go box was in order for late-afternoon nibbles.

The MOTH's Baja plate was an unexpected success -- lightly breaded tilapia on a bed of Dos Equis salsa borracha, hash, and scrambled egs. "The fried fish had a light, crispy shell and was great with that hash," reports the MOTH. He said he typically wouldn't "make the fish breakfast a regular thing" but that the Baja was "excellent."

It's a damned shame that there's a three-Bloody limit at Monica's, but I guess with such good food and cheap drinks, nobody'd ever be able to get a seat by 1 p.m. since patrons would basically refuse to be shooed away from their tables. (Mimosas are also on special and margaritas are $1. ONE DOLLAR.)

As we finished our meal, Monica herself came out to chat -- after stopping by a table of Los Angeles-looking folk led by some dude in a sport coat and baseball cap who the MOTH was convinced was some kind of bigwig. We left Monica's place with full stomachs and cash to spare -- between the Deep Ellum staple's great service and food and Pepe Y Mito's all-day brunch service, the neighborhood handily wins the (Satur) and (Sun) day when it comes to south-of-the-border brunch.

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