I’m really a simple girl at heart. Though I am always up for trying the newest dining trend, I am not really one for haute cuisine. What I really love is simple, down-to-earth comfort food—food that reminds you of home, family, and friends. So when my good friend Erika came to visit me in Philly, I recommended we try Sabrina’s Cafe—a place known for their fabulous brunch menu, featuring comfort food dishes kicked up a notch.
Because we had been forewarned of the notoriously long lines, we decided to wake up early and arrived at Sabrina’s around 10am on a chilly Saturday morning. Though not terribly crowded, there was already a 30-minute wait. None of us minded though, as we spent the entire time perusing the voluminous brunch menu.
Sabrina’s has two locations: the original is located on South St. and its second, slightly larger location is near the Art Museum. While I can’t speak to the South St. location, the Art Museum location is warm and friendly. It had a retro coffeeshop vibe to it, with wide counter seating, large booths, and a bright interior. The crowd seemed to be very family friendly, with lots of strollers and high chairs being toted around.
Even after 30 minutes, my friends and I were at a loss when our waitress seated us and came to take our order. The menu had so many appealing options, from stuffed French toast with bananas and vanilla bean syrup to sandwiches to omelettes galore.
We finally settled on huevos rancheros, a tofu scramble, and two of the (many) specials: French toast stuffed with cream cheese, nutella, and hazelnuts with a peach syrup on the side and a sweet potato-corn pancake wrapped around chicken, black beans, plantains, and peppers topped with a cilantro sour cream. We also ordered La Colombe coffee (a local Philly roaster known for its dark roasts), which arrived in adorable oversized coffee mugs.
My friends and I really enjoyed the huevos rancheros and the tofu scramble. The huevos rancheros ($10.99) included two fried eggs sitting atop 2 crispy blue corn tortillas, topped with a spicy chorizo sauce (which, in my opinion, could have been spicier), avocado, cheese, and pico de gallo salsa, with rosemary potatoes on the side. All of the ingredients were fresh and well-prepared, making this a memorable version of huevos rancheros.
The tofu scramble ($7.89) was also excellent and flavorful. The texture was strikingly similar to scrambled eggs (which most tofu scrambles don’t get right). I was also impressed with—of all things—the toast! Sabrina’s serves Le Bus multigrain bread, another local Philly establishment.
On the other hand, we were not so impressed with the specials. The French toast itself was tasty: a rich, slightly chocolate mascarpone filling slathered between two huge slabs of brioche. However, the peach syrup that accompanied the dish was a mystery to all of us. It did not enhance the dish at all; in fact, it didn’t taste good at all. And thank goodness our waitress warned us to order it on the side! Even on the side, we received a behemoth bowl of sweet, fruity syrup that, had it been dumped onto the French toast, may have made the entire dish inedible. I would have much preferred some good old-fashioned maple syrup, and perhaps less of the mascarpone filling.
The sweet potato corn pancake dish was also a letdown. It was kind of a bizarre burrito, wrapped in a pancake instead of a tortilla. But there were so many ingredients to the dish that they all seemed to overpower one another: heavily seasoned chicken, sweet plantains, zesty peppers, black beans, and cilantro sour cream.
One thing that I can’t complain about, though, is the portions. You certainly get your money’s worth at Sabrina’s, even if the dishes are not spectacular. Overall, I enjoyed my meal at Sabrina’s: the friendly atmosphere and appealing menu made for a lovely brunch. The classic dishes seem to be Sabrina’s strengths. It’s when the kitchen tries to do too much that the dishes lose their appeal.
1804 Callowhill Street
Philadelphia, PA 19130