Eats on Clement Street

CHEAP EATS Hardly anyone names their cat Dave. In fact, no one. That I know of. And yet, every 11 years, like clockwork or a comet, I find myself in the position of having to explain Lou Reed to someone. Why this task falls to me, I will never know. I am not in particular a fan, although I do like and sometimes love and generally "get" and occasionally even listen to Lou Reed.

On the other hand I have never enjoyed hearing Bob Dylan sing a Bob Dylan song. Somebody else — pretty much anybody else singing a Bob Dylan song ... sure! On the radio the other day they were talking about whether or not white guys could be "hip," and the name that kept coming up was Bob Dylan. Someone mentioned Tom Waits, and Tom Waits mentioned Chuck E. Wise, and somebody said Quentin Tarantino and the whole time I was screaming at my radio and shaking it, because that's the way I am.

I am exactly the kind of person who would name their cat Dave. As it happens, my cat came with a name already: Weirdo the Cat. But if I ever get the chance to name another one ... Dave! Dave the Cat.

Now, if I ever get to name a person, humanity's going to be in serious trouble. As is that person, Bing. Boy or girl. After the coolest white man that ever lived. I'm not old enough to even know, really, but then, most people who think Jesus was cool never actually jammed with Him, or heard or saw anything He said or did first hand, or even watched His television special — except on South Park. And that's animated.

My point being that I'm done with dating (again!), or at least writing about it, and so now you get to read about food, lucky you.

Eats. Cheap, yes, but gourmet? Not that making sense is my specialty, but why would you name your restaurant Eats and then describe it as a "gourmet breakfast and lunch restaurant"?

It's not gourmet. It's Eats. Clement and Second Avenue. Just look for the line of people waiting on the sidewalk. You'll never guess what they're waiting for: eggs. Toast. You know, potatoes ... Eats has the standardest menu on Clement. Nothing's special, not even the specials. Huevos rancheros? Yeah, special maybe in Iowa. But I ask you, Eats, is this Iowa?


Wait, I made a mistake. This is Iowa. Naw, there is one thing special on the menu. It's the ricotta cheese pancakes! I found out not by sampling them, but by going to Which is how I plan to review restaurants from now on. Who knew? There are 134 reviews of Eats on Yelp, and almost all of them mention the specialness of the ricotta cheese pancakes.

Hmm ... 134 people versus me. I don't know about you, but I would trust 134 voices over the evidence of my own senses. Especially since, out of any random 134 people, somewhere between 130 and 133 of them are likely to know more about food than I do.

I am a fan of cornmeal pancakes, and pancake pancakes. Word on the Web is that ricotta cheese is the way to go. They're so good, apparently, you don't need butter or syrup. (Many, many, many people said this.) I say: why in the wide, wonky world would I order pancakes except as a vehicle for butter and syrup?

In fact, I ordered the cornmeal pancakes, short stack, with a side of sausage. They gave me three cakes, and only two packets of butter. What the — ? I had to go find four more for myself, 'cause the service was kind of slow. The grillfriends I was with, they ordered cornmeal and regular pancakes. And we all agreed: ho-diddly-hum.

The sausage was dry.

And seriously: it may be that the ricotta cheese pancakes are as amazing as 134 people say, but my guess is they're not. If they were, the cornmeal and regular ones would at least be good, one would think.

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