Breakfast: The Law & Order Edition

Moxie is the new addition to the Lower Queen Anne brunch lineup—already a class act compared to familiar neighboring hooligans.

The perp: Moxie, 530 First Ave. N., 283-6614, www.moxieseattle.com. QUEEN ANNE Brunch served Sat.–Sun. 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Blood-alcohol levels: Zero on a sunny Saturday morning, with a half-dozen ruddy college types milling around the front door before opening. Nobody's even smoking. A healthy crew. Staff sobriety: Did we come here to ask personal questions? Do we even care? Not so long as the coffee is poured with a steady hand. And it is. The police are not called. The rap sheet: The LQA is a tough, scummy hood when the sun comes up. Until last month, local brunch standbys were Ozzie's, where the sidewalk is ankle-deep in cigarette butts and hardened gum, and Peso's, which is more hygienic but always smells of tequila and Axe body spray. Moxie is the new addition to the brunch lineup, already a class act compared to these neighborhood hooligans. Evidence for: Eggs Benedict ($14) is a make-or-break dish. The hollandaise isn't overly goopy, and the eggs taste fresh—practically stolen from the nest. Ham—thin, flavorful, not impertinent. Potatoes not singed or soggy, with an interesting aftertaste from the frying in duck fat. Served in a modest, reasonable portion unless you're a long-haul truck driver. For $11, the Frangelico French toast doesn't need the waitress' buttering-up ("It's one of my sweet faves!"), since tart fruit compote nicely offsets the big glob of mascarpone. (Why do people eat that stuff?) The brioche, sliced thick, evidently comes from Columbia City Bakery—wouldn't the shipping cost be lower from the Pike Place Market? Tiny cups on asymmetrical saucers are annoying to a serious coffee drinker, but the refills are constant—water, too—so I keep my piece holstered. With Grand Marnier in my mimosa ($9), garlanded with an orange curl, the flute has a nice kicky bouquet: not too heavy on the champagne, definitely not poured from a pitcher gone flat in the fridge. Tables next to me sample the Bloody Mary and Michelada. A Mexican beer concoction? For breakfast? I do not envy them. Evidence against: When two grown men and a 3-year-old show up for brunch, you immediately think A) sitcom, or B) unattractive gay couple. Is that why we don't get the window four-top in the sun? Demographics I understand, but shouldn't the good tables go to those politely waiting next in line? Still, though seated in back with the rowdies—two rival rugby squads? A college reunion party?—the Moxettes go the extra mile for our mini-diner: plain toast, a side of bacon cooked to order, no questions about why she wears dark glasses and a hat indoors. (Witness protection program. Wanted by the mob.) Mitigating factors: First Avenue North, a cheerless one-way strip running up past Key Arena, has traditionally been a challenging location for restaurants serving the dine-and-cheer sports crowd who favor speedy eating over high-quality cuisine. Moxie inherited its L-shaped space two years ago from what might've been a dead bistro, funeral parlor, dry cleaner's, or Speedy Lube. The purple awning is hideous, and the interior screams Ikea. But I would eat there again. The prosecution rests. New Soak It Ups appear every week on Voracious, the Weekly's food blog: www.seattleweekly.com/voracious.

 
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