Lazy Sunday - Brunch at Jasper's

May 5, 2010

Ever since we moved to the Woodlands half a decade ago, we've frequented Jasper's, the Market Street home of Kent Rathbun's "Upscale Backyard Cuisine".  A recent glorious Saturday morning had us craving brunch, so we headed over to Jasper's, and snagged a spot on the shaded patio.  We'd not been in a while, and the patio was just as inviting as we had remembered.  The picture-perfect spring weather didn't hurt, either.

We were in the mood for French Toast, and Jasper's Vanilla French Toast sounded superb, complete with Carmelized Honey-Banana Syrup and Applewood Smoked Bacon.  So we ordered, and after a slightly longer than expected wait, our plate arrived.

So this is a brunch entree at Jasper's?  One tiny slice of bacon?  Two pieces of toast, cut in half, one slightly burned and one undercooked?  I suppose the smattering of fresh berries was supposed to make up for the miserly portions.  It didn't.

Honestly, this plate makes me wonder about what's going on in the kitchen.  We understand that cost control is an important part of designing a menu, but one skimpy half-length slice of bacon?  Two pieces of toast?  Heck, even IHOP is more generous, and if your upscale brunch falls short in a comparison to IHOP, you have serious problems.

We grudgingly finished our order (the good housemade syrup disguised the burnt flavor of the toast fairly well) but were still quite hungry.  So we decided to order something else; in this case, Jasper's Potato-Leek Hashbrowns.

What arrived were two lightly browned potato discs, with some leek and scallion mixed with the potato.  Nice presentation, but it resulted in one crucial problem:  Once you get away from the crust, the hash browns aren't brown at all, and in this case they were nearly uncooked and mushy.  We left most of them on our plate.

We've been big fans of Jasper's since they opened in the Woodlands, but this brunch confirmed rumors we'd been hearing about the product slipping.  Hopefully Chef Rathbun will visit from Dallas and straighten things out at his Woodlands location, especially now that he's got serious competition from Tesars across the street.  Tesars' brunch is nothing short of spectacular, miles ahead of Jasper's lukewarm effort.

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