Updated classics and fresh decor make Old Town Scottsdale’s new hangover hangout an early riser.
Walk into the former Jimmy Woo’s building and you’ll get a wake-up call: The bones of the restaurant remain, but the sleek Asian setting has been eclipsed by vibrant lime green booths and shiny white countertops so reflective you’ll need Ray-Bans. There’s even a Fido-friendly patio and menu for your purse dog. Given such trendy flourishes, one might expect the Morning Squeeze brain trust to dial it in with their breakfast-minded menu.
Thankfully, that’s not the case. At Morning Squeeze, the modernized classics turn out to be real eye-openers.
Look for six versions of eggs Benedict, the best of which is the cheeky Friends with Bennies ($13). Plentiful chunks of langoustine and plump pink shrimp add briny sweetness, while the buttery hollandaise has just enough spice to tease the tongue. The dish’s rich sourdough muffin base is also delectable when topped with cream cheese, sliced turkey, fried egg, and grassy avocado in the Squeezemobile sandwich ($7). Lox & eggs ($11) is delightfully re-imagined as a fluffy egg white omelet, with the fish’s subtle smokiness underscoring the toothsome crunch of asparagus and onion. To wash it all down, avoid the gritty fruit smoothies and stick with a classic Bloody Mary with smoky black salt rim ($8) or refreshingly sour hibiscus orange juice ($3-$4).
Meaty standouts include the Macho Mama two-pound burrito ($13), a challenge for most adults to eat in a single sitting, and the Hillbilly Highrise ($11), a “skyscraper” of gravy-soaked hash browns topped with slightly runny eggs and country-fried steak. The steak was surprisingly lean, with a thin golden breading that practically melted under the weight of savory sausage gravy. My Southern husband hoovered the dish like it was his mama’s Sunday cooking.
Lunch offerings are a mixed bag. Ripe avocado halved and stuffed with a ceviche-esque shrimp mixture ($8) was a promising starter, but the Hawaiian Punch sandwich ($10) suffered from mealy pepper sauce and the gelatinous, pink-rimmed deli ham found in kiddy lunch boxes. The deli meat fared better in the Montecristo ($9), which was so deliciously deep-fried the chef could have inserted a layer of cardboard and it still would’ve tasted good. One unexpected lunchtime hit was Brussels sprout salad ($11), a beautiful mélange of caramelized veggies and thick, salty bacon chunks. Buttery Marcona almonds and dried berries offset the natural bitterness of the sprouts.
While Morning Squeeze doesn’t have a dessert menu per se, several items hit the sweet spot. Ricotta pancakes with grated orange zest ($8) are airy and tart, while the bananas Foster waffle ($8) is an indulgent combination of crisp dough and sugary toppings. Rolled in Frangelico corn flakes and pan-fried, Tuscan toast ($7) boasted a delightfully crisp exterior with traces of cinnamon and hazelnut – a titillating adulteration of two childhood classics.
Is breakfast really the most important meal of the day? Maybe not. But at Morning Squeeze, it’s definitely the most delicious.
Cuisine: Breakfast, American
Address: 4233 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
Hours: 6:30 a.m.-2 p.m. daily
Highlights: Friends with Bennies ($13); Hillbilly Highrise ($11); lox & eggs ($11); Brussels sprout salad ($11); Montecristo ($9); bananas Foster waffle ($8); Tuscan toast ($7)
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