Finding a good spot for an American breakfast can be somewhat difficult in the land of barbacoa and breakfast tacos. One place that is on the top of many people’s lists for some good pancakes, bacon and eggs is Magnolia Pancake Haus off of Bitters and West. This is not to be confused with Magnolia in Austin as it is a completely separate entity. I decided to go try out their pancakes one Sunday morning with a friend who is a huge fan of Magnolia Pancake Haus.
Now let me be up front, I have been to Magnolia once before and had a mixed reaction to it. You should expect to wait a long time (especially on Saturday or Sunday mornings) as locals always pack this place in. While I thought that the pancakes were good (they are very fluffy), I didn’t think that they were worth a 45 minute wait. You can see that I was a little reticent to return.
My friend, however, thinks that they are the best pancakes in the world, so I decided to give them another shot. After the 30 minute wait (you can’t escape the wait, just plan on it and enjoy reading the paper or talking with your friends and family), we were seated. I do like the inside of Magnolia; it has a good diner type feel and you can tell everyone is having fun.
My friend always orders one of two items, but was eyeing some different types of pancakes. I tend to judge a pancake house based on how awesome their blueberry pancakes are, but I had remembered that is what I ordered at Magnolia before. In order to get her to try something new, and so that I could try an assortment of pancakes, I proposed the idea that we ordered six different kinds of pancakes!
I don’t know, sometimes I think it is good to go crazy and do something out of the ordinary. This was one of those days. Unfortunately, we could not order a stack of pancakes with each one being different, so we had to order six different servings. After looking at the menu we decided on the following: blueberry, apple cinnamon, chocolate chip (made with Godiva chocolate chips), bacon (she was particularly interested in this one), pecan, and bananas foster (this was one I lobbied hard for because she wasn’t particularly interested).
After eating all the pancakes, there were three that were unmemorable, two that were pretty good, and one that was outstanding. All of the pancakes were fluffy and had a good taste, however, I am judging the pancakes on the fact that you have to wait at least 30 minutes to eat them (and on how much all the people rave about this restaurant).
The pancakes that leave something to be desired were the bacon, pecan, and blueberry. If you want the bacon pancake, you are better off ordering normal pancakes and a side of bacon. You don’t get a whole lot of bacon in the pancakes and I couldn’t even taste it in there. The pecan was equally disappointing with the pecans looking like they came from a package instead of being shelled in the restaurant. Again, I couldn’t discern their taste in the batter.
The blueberry pancakes were an epic disappointment. First, the blueberries are really small and even eating them alone you will not be able to taste any flavor. They are just small and rubbery with no real flavor. To top it off, there are not that many blueberries in the pancakes. If you go to Magnolia and wait through that line and are a lover a blueberry pancakes, do not order them. You will be sorely disappointed.
Both the apple cinnamon and chocolate chip pancakes were pretty good. The apple cinnamon pancakes had a great flavor and were a little tart (think along the lines of apple pie). The chocolate chip pancakes were incredibly sweet and were chopped full with chocolate. It seemed that as stingy as they were with blueberries, they were generous with chocolate chips. With these two pancakes you won’t be disappointed that you ordered them, however, it might not be enough to get you to come back.
Finally, the pancake that stole the show was the bananas foster pancake. This is absolutely the item you must order out of the bunch. I am really not that big of a fan of bananas in breakfast items or desserts, but I do love some bananas foster (especially in New Orleans).
This pancake does it right where the top is filled full of bananas and the brown sugar sauce that is very rich and very sweet. The bananas foster pancake stands alone and there is no need for syrup on it. The sweet is complimented nicely by the fluffy pancake and is something that I would wait in line for again.
I had a lot of fun getting to try this assortment of pancakes and even got to learn something in the process. First off, you have to take consideration for the fact that I am not a professional food critic. I’m just an Average Joe writing about what I like and don’t like. This blog started as a way for all my friends to know about what I was eating so that they could decide on where they want to eat when they come to town.
I don’t have the luxury of getting to order a variety of items because, unless stated explicitly in the article, I am funding my culinary adventure out of my own pocket. I can very easily order something that is not the restaurant’s core competency; if you find a review of mine that you don’t like, by all means disagree and leave a comment on what I should try in a future visit. (That being said, if you are a pancake house, you really have to bring it on the blueberry pancakes.)
Second, it is a lot of fun to just order a bunch of different types of plates. I enjoyed getting some funny stares from other folks in the restaurant and the “You want what?” question from our waiter. Life is too short to always order the things that you are familiar with; next time you are out at your favorite restaurant, instead of ordering your standard, try a couple of dishes that you have always been interested in. You never know, you might find something new that you like.
Value: 8.5/10 (the cost of their pancakes and breakfasts are in line with the rest of the city between $5-$8/plate)
Atmosphere: 9/10 (very clean and cheerful atmosphere)
Service: 8.5/10 (good service; the waiter was very friendly, but I was disappointed that he didn’t really interact with us more and ask us which pancake was our favorite)
Taste: 7/10 (the bananas foster pancake is out of this world while the blueberry pancake badly misses the mark; I still don’t understand what all the hullabaloo is around this restaurant)