I've been fairly anonymous up until now but I am about to give you all a big hint of how to find me. Keith Hicks at Ovation has a sweet gray beard that makes it a good eight inches down from his face and a full mustache with a completely shaved head. I will now attempt to grow this out. I'll be the white guy that looks like Keith Hicks. You'll recognize me easily as the pale white guy who's trying too hard to be cool. Somehow Chef Hicks does it without trying.
Recently, Mrs. FWHITW I brunched at Buttons after hearing great things about the brunch buffet. I had previously been to Ovation (when Hicks was there) and experienced the Chicken and Waffles sensation so I knew this was going to be good, but I wasn't prepared for a new love. Biscuits with a beef gravy so thick and rich it could have had its own cream gravy on top of it. In fact, I think I'll ask for that next time.
In Hick's'seses' style, Buttons is a soul food restaurant with room for a band and styled in a soulful manner. I'm sure he would take this as an insult but I kept expecting to see Foxxy Cleopatra come out from the kitchen at any moment. He has masterfully converted the old 29 Degree Tavern into a place that sort of makes you forget that you're in the Central Market strip center.
"Thanks Hole In the Wall guy, but I can't eat decorations, what about the food"
New, bearded, shaved head HITW guy says Shut Yo Mouth!
But I will tell you. The brunch is a combination of breakfast and lunch items, but I am going to submit a resolution to the Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner Council of America asking that they remove biscuits and gravy from the sole possession of breakfast, and require fried catfish at every breakfast. Your options consist of jalapeno cheese grits, biscuits and gravy, bacon, pork sausage, corn cakes, french toast, I think a potato hash, macaroni and cheese, green beans, baked chicken, fried catfish and some fruit. That sounds like a typical brunch....if you grew up in Heaven.
Now, let me save you some time and stomach space - skip the baked chicken, the green beans and the fruit. The green beans tasted great and the fruit was fresh but both are lacking in the requisite grease content. Plus, you can eat green beans when your doctor tells you to stop living and go on a diet. Until then, also skip the baked chicken. It was good, but I only got it to taste it to tell you that. I try to avoid baked chicken because you know its judging the other contents of your stomach. Uppity hens.
Get double scoops of the grits. They have spice, cheese and southern awesome seeping through them. I imagine that Atticus Finch ate jalapeno cheese grits every day. Hence his fictional oratory powers. Then, get two biscuits and rip them in half. You can touch your food in a buffet line, as long as you don't put back what you touch (new rule effective since my last trip). Cover those things up with the thick brown beef gravy that looks suspicious. Trust me. Besides, you ate and drank more suspicious things at random parties in college so don't be shy. Load up. Get some french toast, pile on some macaroni & cheese and finally, top it all off with catfish. That should work for the first trip.
The suspicious looking gravy was easily the table favorite, with the super tender catfish coming in second, and the grits in a close third place. Everything else tied for fourth. It was all delicious, but Keith raised the bar with the gravy. Really, my only complaint was that Keith wouldn't let me stroke his beard.
Check it out and when you see me rolling with my sweet new beard, don't get jealous. You too can grow out the Hick-manchu.
Buttons is at 4701 W. Freeway. That's the shopping center with Central Market and Mi Cocina. The restaurant is on the northwest side of the shopping center.