Orphan: Hipper Than Thou, and Tastier Too

About five months ago, you may have been one of the hundred or so people that told me to read Blair Robertson’s Bee review of this new breakfast joint in town. The place was called Orphan and apparently “Robo,” as his friends call him (ok, I’m not really sure if his friends call him that, but they should, because “Robo” is a badass nickname, almost as badass as “Badass” being your nickname, which is pretty badass) tore the place a new muddy starfish and ripped it up and down for serving tasteless muck and for having an owner who is a bit of a jackass. Well, today I had my own Orphan experience, and at least they’ve improved the food.

It seems like they’ve improved the food quite a lot actually. The food was wonderful, flavorful, comforting.  My flank steak hash was packed like a clown car with onions, peppers, herbs, beatifully cooked potatoes, and lovingly seared steak. My lovely companion’s dish was equally well spiced, and served with a beautiful side of fruit and ridiculously good rosemary bread that did a fine job soaking up the yolk from the spot-on over-medium eggs and the sinus-clearing horseradish cream that came on the side.

I have no complaints about the food; the food was wonderful. Nor do I slight the service, which was friendly, casual, and attentive enough for a busy Saturday morning. My issue, and this is not a deal-breaker by any means, but my issue is the hipster, indie, exclusionary vibe that surrounds the place like climbing vine. From the art on the walls (b&w photos of twenty-something scene kids, uniformed in thick rimmed glasses and beards for the guys, vintage ‘dos and sullen stares from the girls) to the recycled grandma furniture scattered around the place to the “we’re-not-going-to-accept-credit-cards-because-credit-cards-are-tools-of-the-Man” payment policy, the place suffers from a small case of “hipper-than-thou” syndrome. 

And here’s the thing, I’m not usually judgemental about these kinds of things when I go out to eat. If the food’s good, that’s enough for me. You can be a shitty, mean waitress with track marks running up your arm all the way up to your earlobes, and if your food is on the mark, no issues here. But what really got my goat – and not some cute little pastoral goat here, but a hulking, biting, surly goat — was the following conversation:

WAITRESS: How’s everything?
ME: Just great, but could I get a little ketchup please?
WAITRESS: Oh, we don’t have ketchup.
ME: You don’t have ketchup? (In the style of, “You’ve never seen Usual Suspects”?)
WAITRESS: No, we don’t, the owner doesn’t like it.

DING DING DING! Pretentious alert! I don’t give a shit if you don’t like ketchup. I like ketchup and I’m the one eating at your f’ing restaurant. I don’t care if it’s homemade spiced tomato marmalade, just get me some kind of tomato/sugar/vinegar concoction or I will start shooting lasers from out of my eyes. That’s like a coffee shop owner not providing cream and sugar and then snootily telling customers “The owner thinks coffee should be enjoyed black so as to not sully the flavors.” Or your boyfriend telling you that anal sex should be enjoyed without lube for a more “authentic” experience.  F that.

Deep breath. Did I mention the bread was really tasty? I didn’t put butter on it. I don’t know if they serve butter. I didn’t want to find out.

Orphan- 3440 C St, Sacramento

Food **** Service *** Atmosphere *

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8 thoughts on “Orphan: Hipper Than Thou, and Tastier Too”

  1. I love ketchup. LOVE it! So, I will not be a customer at the above establishment. Never.

    Have your reviews moved a little bit closer to NSFW on the humor scale? Don’t get me wrong, I love a good anal joke just as much as the next bro!

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  2. I think the “tools of the man” excuse for not having a credit card/debit machine is a farce in most cases. Odds are it’s because the proprietor of a “cash only” establishment is just being cheap and doesn’t want to pay for the processing.

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  3. Too bad about the service. I heard great things about the food and still want to try it. I will definitely bring my own ketchup or … catsup, if you will. If anybody from the restaurant is reading this, and the reason they don’t take credit cards is the extreme service fee that is associated with it, they should check out this new gizmo I read about that works on iPhones for accepting credit payments anywhere. The website is http://www.squareup.com

    Thanks for the honest review, and … the imagery.

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  4. I’ve been there 3x. First time it sucked – “Mexican” inflected food was bland, tasteless, although portions were enormous. Service SUCKED.

    Second time, the food had spice – not enough, but it had flavor. Service was OK.

    Third time – a month ago – the food was perfect, came out quickly, the prices hadn’t increased at all, the servings were still enormous, the service was quite competent.

    And yeah, they now have hot sauce – an assortment – available.

    I was really impressed and will go back. Parking is a mess, though, and yeah, the no-debit-card thing is a PITA, but whatever.

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  5. Been there 3 times. The food is quite bland. Awesomely arranged on your plate but bland. Someone should walk their cooks down the spice isle at Safeway and tell them it’s ok to indulge. Last time we went, the potatoes were undercooked and still stiff. Gf threw it all up in the bathroom and swore the place off.

    I don’t get how it’s so packed on weekends but it’s more of a “this is where the cool midtown hipsters with oversized sunglasses hang out” type of place.

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  6. Hah! Excellent review! The atmosphere is probably the one thing keeping me from coming back to this place. The food was average, I wouldn’t say great. But come on, you can’t be that snobbish for a food joint.

    Plus, the owner is a total idiot douche.

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