Though I’ve been to Bearcat several times (and both locations), I’ve never really wanted to be a “good cat.” If you haven’t been, which you should, this California-esque restaurant appreciates many different diets and does its very best to cater to all of them. Whether you’re vegan, gluten-free, paleo, or even keto, you’ll find something phenomenal there to eat. For breakfast and lunch, the menu is split in two with diners choosing to be either a good cat or a bad cat, and I’d never chosen from the “good” menu until now. I don’t know what took me so long.
I’m not sure why I always avoided the good side. Maybe it’s because I’ve always fancied myself something of a rebel. I rarely join groups or conform to social norms, and I hate being told what to do. Given a choice between a double bacon burger with cheese and a veggie-heavy, spring salad, I’d choose the burger every time. But this time, I changed my mind.
This particular brunch adventure was pre-Ida, so even though it was a weekday, the restaurant was packed. My friend and colleague Kathy had been wanting to try Bearcat for some time now, so we decided to get on the list and get in line. After perhaps 30-45 minutes (we hopped over to The Rook for coffee while waiting on our text), we were seated.
Totally raring for another “bad cat” experience, I encouraged Kathy to share the crab croquetta to start — crisply fried crab balls with smoky tasso in a tangy, green onion remoulade. But then I totally changed gears. While Kathy opted for the dark side with a LA blue crab scramble and a side of buttery, stone-ground grits, I straightened my halo and ordered off of the lunch menu. Going completely vegan and gluten-free, I got the tender trumpet mushrooms seared like scallops and served atop a black sesame seed hummus, with riced cauliflower, asparagus and pink, tangy swirls of romesco.
Everything was fabulous, as usual, including the helpful and endlessly patient servers, the rustic, earthy stoneware, and eye-opening coffee. I’m not even positive who the roaster was on this visit, but whether it’s the usual Oregon-based Equator Coffee Co. or a special like PT’s brew from Topeka, Kansas, it’s always been a great cuppa joe.