In our ongoing quest to locate a solid first meal of the day, we were introduced to the cuisine of Nathaniel Nguyen. We should preface this by mentioning that brunch is served inside a Greek restaurant across from South Coast Plaza. It's offered on weekends from 8 a.m. to noon at this location only. If you are a rise and shiner, you'll be in for a treat.
Menu items were very affordable, as pricing capped at $10 for meals both healthy and flavorful. Nguyen's nod to Thasos Greek Island Grille's standard menu is found in every dish, providing a unique breakfast theme in a neighborhood of conforming tastes. While sweet options included parfaits and multigrain pancakes, we gravitated towards savory.
Are you down with PPE? Perfectly poached eggs. Nathaniel serves them on point, oozing yolk and all. We consumed them greedily in his breakfast hash, where guests have the option of a chicken "Loukaniko" or beef (bifteki) sausage. Chicken may be better for you, but the beef was more pleasing to us. And that hash! Parsnips, sweet potato and their relatives make for a photogenic dish.
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Nguyen's take on bagels and lox incorporates labneh, a Greek yogurt converted into cheese. With layers of arugula, red onion and Kalamata olive, we expected a tickle from our peppered greens, yet found none. Somewhere between the tzatziki and another PPE, we found a very palatable bite.
Morning by Thasos was a modest menu done well. We appreciated that most items could be ordered a la carte, allowing for customization without appearing too much like Meg Ryan's character in When Harry Met Sally. We left our brunch date feeling satiated, yet not uncomfortably full.