Smiling Bison Brunch

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Bison Poutine

I've been wanting to get back to the Smiling Bison for a while, and brunch seemed like a good excuse to finally do it.

Apparently, the Sunday ritual is already popular with regular Bisoners — I had to circle around a couple of times before I found a parking space I could just barely squeeze into. And once inside, I was told that my only dining option was to sit at the bar if I didn't want to wait at least 20 minutes for a table. I didn't.

The brunch menu isn't nearly as creative, at least on paper, as the dinner menu. It actually reads a bit pedestrian with such things as a brunch burrito, steak and eggs, scotch egg, and one brutally honest offering called basic breakfast. The one item that caught my attention as being somewhat out of the ordinary was the Brunch Poutine — the Canadian dish of fries topped with tomato "gravy" with bacon, cheese curds and a fried egg. And when I saw one sitting in the window from the dining room to the kitchen waiting for a server to pick it up and deliver it, I knew that's what I wanted.

I wasn't disappointed, though I would have liked the option of adding a second egg — one didn't quite add enough ooze to the fries below. The fries were described on the menu as shoestring, but I would call them simply thin. The sauce wasn't too cheesy, and I loved hunting for the bits of bacon in the haystack of potatoes.

SB does not have a full liquor license, so its "cocktail" menu has to be a bit more creative. Which goes to explain the item listed as a beer bloody mary. Sorry, I didn't have the nerve to try it. (If you've had one, please tell us what you think in the notes below.)

Besides the bar and the cavelike dining area, the Bison also has outdoor seating at picnic-like tables in the full sun (in other words, there were no umbrellas or shading that I could see).

My server, who was the bartender, managed to keep a smile as she busily filled all requests. And it was nice to see chef and owner Josh Oakley working his magic in the kitchen.

The Smiling Bison is at 745 Bennett Road, Orlando. Brunch is served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. The phone number is 407-898-8580.