Waffle House - the Mosaic
It's a weekend morning, and you are thinking about brunch, maybe even breakfast,
Where to go? Think
no further. Drive straight to Rockville 's Mosaic Cuisine & Cafe,
because despite its puzzling name, Mosaic has a definite theme: waffles.
Waffles, waffles everywhere. It's a celebration of waffles, both sweet
and savory, most presented as sandwiches, and all guaranteed to please
and capture the imagination. What owner/chef Thierry Jugnet had in mind
originally when he decided to put the waffle on a culinary pedestal is
anyone's guess, but what he has fashioned out of a simple egg-and-flour
batter are some truly memorable dishes.
The cafe is open from early morning until pretty late
in the evening, and you can kick off the day with several breakfast waffle
choices. The two sweet waffles include plain with syrup ($3.95) and a
slightly fancier one with strawberries and caramel cream ($5.95).
Still in the breakfast mood, but wanting something sturdier? Jugnet offers
several savory waffle sandwiches (Belgian waffles are split in half, horizontally),
which are filled with eggs, eggs and bacon, or other savory fillings. These
range in price from $5.75 for the plain waffle to $8.50 for a waffle with a
smoked salmon and lemon-cheese sauce filling. My friend selected the Egg'n
Bacon Savory Waffle, filled with scrambled eggs and maple-cured bacon. A little
jug of maple syrup comes alongside.
But if none of the breakfast varieties please, turn to the lunch menu. There
you'll find even more waffle sandwiches, ranging in price from $6.99 to $8.75.
Are these a gimmick? Maybe, but the corned beef waffle sandwich turns out to
be a delicate and sophisticated interpretation of the classic deli corned beef
sandwich, piled high with often-greasy slices of corned beef slathered in tons
of mustard. Served with an unusual coleslaw of shredded cabbage and thinly
sliced sweet bell peppers, all dressed with a sesame-oil based dressing, this
is one memorable corned beef sandwich - no mustard needed.
Other savory waffle luncheon sandwiches include a roast beef served with red
onion marmalade; grilled veggies; pecan-grape chicken salad; and tuna salad
with provolone cheese.
But Mosaic is not just all about waffles: Jugnet gets
serious about other dishes, too, and his assorted salads - including
a saffron risotto salad with veggies and grilled chicken breast ($8.75)
and a warm goat cheese cake salad over leaf lettuce and mesclun ($9.25)
- should make lunchtime salad-eating take on new meaning.
Even more serious fare turns up on the dinner menu: boneless chicken Basquaise
($12.75) and a Parmesan-crusted pork medallion ($14.50) are among the full-course
eats. And savory tortes with assorted fillings baked in a pastry crust ($12.95
to $13.95) should tempt just about anyone. But the kitchen slips in a few "wafflleissino" sandwiches
for dinner, including the paprika-Parmesan chicken breast ($8.75).
The few desserts have a French accent, ranging from pot de créme to
brulee, with the ubiquitous crêpes added for good measure. How could
anyone ignore crêpes with strawberries and caramel sauce ($4.29)?
There's a trick to making these delicate pancake-like treats - cooking the
batter fast and keeping it intact - and Jugnet has definitely mastered the
In keeping with the Frenchness of the menu, the decor is as bright
and sunny as a morning in Provence, accented by colorful prints. All this
should make Washingtonians wistful on a gray spring morning.