Brunch...the under-appreciated meal that borrows the best from breakfast and lunch menus. But often we're too tired or hungover from last night and have to settle for some greasy eggs or pancakes that taste of cardboard at the nearby diner. It is for exactly this reason that we are starting the Brunch Bets segment. Our goal, to explore New York's better (and sometimes poorer) brunch experiences in hopes that you can at least have something to look forward to after your walk of shame.
For our inaugural post I thought nothing would be more appropriate than to choose a restaurant named after an ingredient essential to any brunch: Egg. I'll admit, I took me far too long before I summoned enough courage to brave the long lines of hipsters and eat what many consider the best brunch in New York. It was mid-afternoon by the time MW and I arrived in Williamsburg and the waiting room the restaurant provides to shelter their hungry on-lookers was full. Though there were plenty of parties of two ahead of us on the waiting list (clipboard and pen) many of them had wandered off and we were quickly ushered in.
Modern would be far too kind to describe Egg's decor, think homeless chic as bare light bulbs line the white-washed walls. But I didn't come here for a lesson on interior decorating for hipsters, no, I was here for the Southern-style classics at great prices responsible for all the praise given to it. The coffee is French Press-Brewed Coffee and warmed us after waiting in the cold.
MW choose the Biscuits & Gravy. Egg's version covers a homemade buttermilk biscuit with sawmill gravy and sausage. While the description sounds no different than many other versions in the New York City region, the taste is anything but. The buttermilk biscuit was soft and buttery and the sawmill gravy had a spicy finish that paired well with the large chunks of sweet sausage. This was the exact dish you wanted after coming in from the cold, warming you from the inside.
Wanting eggs of her own, MW also ordered a side of Eggs Scrambled Soft. While I prefer my eggs more well done, I thought these eggs were cooked to her liking.
I went with the famous Eggs Rothko, or in my opinion, an adult version of egg-in-a-hole that I enjoyed as a child. Easy cooked eggs on brioche and topped with grafton cheddar cheese. The eggs were cooked just right, with an oozing yolk easily mopped up by the brioche and balanced by the bite of the cheddar cheese; this was comfort food at its finest.
The dish came with a side of Broiled Tomatoes that sat atop the toasted center of brioche. The flavor of the tomatoes were concentrated by broiling them and the acidity tasted great aside the rich eggs and cheese.
For the side of meat I ordered the Candied Bacon. This tasted just as good as the version at Clinton Street Baking Company and is highly recommended for those who have yet to try this sinister concoction. Being a fan of anything sweet and savory, I had to hold myself back from devouring it all before offering a piece to MW, its like crack.
Scanning the menu I couldn't resist also ordering a Country Ham Biscuit. A roommate from college grew up in Virgina and always talked about her love for ham biscuits so when I read country ham from Col. Bill Newsom's hams in Princeton, Kentucky sandwiched between a buttermilk biscuit topped with fig jam and more grafton cheddar I knew I had to have this. This is a breakfast sandwich for the ages: salty country ham mixed with the sweet fig jam and tangy cheddar between a homemade buttermilk biscuit made me angry at myself for waiting this long to visit Egg.
Though you'll be lost amidst a sea of flannel, facial hair and skinny jeans the food at Egg more than justifies any wait you'll endure.
135 North 5th Street
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