David Buehrer and Ecky Prabanto won so many fans at their Greenway Coffee and Tea shop, located in relatively out-of-the-way Greenway Plaza, that there was much excitement when they announced they'd open a new free-standing shop on Westheimer near Montrose. Well, Blacksmith Coffee Bar is finally here: a trim, industrial space refashioned from the legendary Mary's bar.
Predictably, the coffee is excellent. Just as predictably, the shop has become an overnight industry hangout, so that on a late morning you might see Oxheart chef Justin Yu and his sommelier, Justin Vann, lined up at the counter with Anvil owner Bobby Heugel (who is a partner in the Blacksmith venture), while Travis Hinkle, the wine guy at the Pass, breakfasts with his wife at a table.
Not so predictably, the short menu by former Plonk chef Erin Smith goes beyond the usual coffee-shop-purchased baked goods. Chief among its glories is Smith's wonderfully buttery biscuit, cut square and wide and served up as a portable breakfast (or lunch, for that matter). Stacked with a fried egg, cheddar cheese and a spicy "butcher's" sausage patty that tastes like Jimmy Dean went to the Culinary Institute of America, this creation jumped right onto my current roster of favorite sandwiches.
Can't face all that protein? Get the biscuit by itself, served with thick crème fraîche and house-made apricot preserves. That way, the sturdy biscuit reads almost like a shortcake. If you add a pot of tea (the roasted green houjicha is particularly salutary), you've got the Houston equivalent of tea with scones.
(Blacksmith Coffee Bar, 1018 Westheimer, 832-360-7470. Breakfast and lunch 7 a.m.-5 p.m. daily.)