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by Andrew Chalk

The name Cullum’s Attaboy doesn’t spring off the tongue, and it isn’t located in one of the established restaurant areas, so the San Antonio visitor could be forgiven for overlooking it. However, if you want a breakfast unlike anywhere else in town, or you are traveling from north San Antonio into downtown, especially on 281, or swimming that stretch down The Riverwalk for exercise (or because you haven’t sobered up from that bender at the nearby Pearl entertainment area) then this is the place.

Set in an old wood frame house, Attaboy is cozy and homely. The jazz on the speaker (a little too loud) is a recording of the actual radio sessions founder Christopher Cullum’s father recorded, even playing with jazz greats of the day.

La Lou Tarama Peasant Pâté
La Lou Tarama Peasant Pâté

I was at a media event for breakfast, but brunch is served as well (not dinner -- the establishment closes at 2pm). Spudnuts ($7), powdered donuts, are the most popular item here but I have to admit I passed because something else caught my eye. La Lou Tarama Peasant Pâté ($11) a mason jar of carp roe, scallion & lemon served with a side of toast pieces. I love fish pâté but you see it on menus less often than Texas sees a total eclipse of the sun. This housemade expression was mild and creamy. Definitely a return dish.

Another showstopper on the breakfast menu is caviar. Not just domestic fish eggs (trout, etc.) but Oscietra, one of the hallowed trinity of sturgeon. I did not get the provenance but the price of $78 for 20g was the most reasonable you are likely to find anywhere.

There are Cullum’s takes on more conventional items like Champagne Butter Poached Scallop and Hollandaise ($16), a coquilles Saint-Jacques variation, or Escargots ($16) with a scotch compound butter.

The drinks list of wines and cocktails, and apéritifs and digestifs, as well as mocktails is as long as the menu. I declined the booze as I was on my third bottle of scotch that day, what with it being almost ten o’ clock and everything but, strangely, the coffee I ordered didn’t blow me away. I expected power and brawn in the European grand cafeteria tradition, but it was distinctly ordinary.

Mom’s Cheesecake
Mom’s Cheesecake

What was not ordinary was Mom’s Cheesecake ($11), a two-sided creation of cheesecake and cheese with blueberries on the side. Truly rich, play with this as you would play with a ten foot alligator at the edge of a lake.

On cool days grab a veranda seat. When it's hot, try to get a view of the open kitchen. That woman you see orchestrating is Alisha who has worked with Cullum for years and is cook, menu tweaker, manager and general COO at the Attaboy location while Cullum splits time between his various properties and catering. Brandon, our waiter, deserves mention for his hard work as well.

Definitely make Cullum’s Attaboy a breakfast venue the next time you are in San Antonio.

Men who use the first of the unisex bathrooms in the standing position should  concentrate carefully.
Men who use the first of the unisex bathrooms in the standing position should concentrate carefully.



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