Located in an 1800s-era house with wood floors and stained glass windows, Sassafras has a homey bed and breakfast vibe complete with handwritten condiment labels, Ball jars for water, and those annoying, thin fabric rag-napkins. It’s all the twee you can handle. We half-expected Zooey Deschanel to serve our table while playing a ukulele, and quite frankly, we're disappointed she didn't.
The building and the menu at Sassafras will feel very familiar to anyone who’s been to the original Lucile’s in Boulder (minus all the white people dreadlocks). With few nearby competitors in its residential 'hood, this place has built a strong crowd since opening in mid-2012. 5280 even named it one of the best new restaurants of 2013. But we just don’t get it...at all.
Some people go to restaurants looking for things to complain about, but that is certainly not us. We wanted to like Sassafras...we really did. Unfortunately, after a few trips, all we can say is that this place just keeps letting us down. There are a few good bites here and there, but not nearly enough of them to come back for more. It doesn’t help that service is spotty even when the place is dead. And don't expect to liven things up with a few drinks. No liquor license here. You heard me. A brunch place with no alcohol. Have fun with that. Thankfully the new Cap Hill location is boozing it up as god intended, but no breakfast cocktail buzz can save under-seasoned food.
Sassafras isn’t a terrible option if you’re in the neighborhood and can get a patio table. But it’s not a destination, and there’s nothing special about the food. Spend your time somewhere that has shorter waits and bloody marys.
Biscuits and Gravies
If you self-identify as a Southern place, you better have some damn good biscuits and gravy. Nope. The biscuits were dry and the gravies were gluey and super bland. Huge bummer.
Fried Green Tomatoes
One of the better choices you can make here and a nice starter. The tomatoes are crispy and fresh and the Fresno chili hollandaise is solid.
The description reads like your food dream journal. Shrimp-crab cakes. Crawfish-ham hash. Poached eggs with cayenne hollandaise. And goat cheese-jalapeño grits. Sounds like a no brainer, right? But this is the problem with Sassafras. The food rarely lives up to the description.
Cinnamon Scented Steel Cut Oats
I’ll be completely honest. After being dragged here as part of a large group, I decided to get the cheapest dish possible and oatmeal won. Not bad, but nothing you couldn’t make yourself.
Roasted Vegetable Grits
Best for someone with willpower who’s trying to eat healthy. The roasted veggies, grits, and poached eggs were great together, but the serving is small and you’ll quickly become jealous of the more exciting plates passing by.
Good news: The fried oysters are respectable. Bad news: everything else in the dish add up to a big bowl of blah.
Banana Custard Brioche French Toast
Very rich and heavy. A sugarsplosion that should be shared, because you’ll seriously need insulin if you eat this entire thing by yourself. Best left to a few bites.