What is eggs Benedict?
514 2nd St. (between 7th and 8th Avenues), Brooklyn 11215 (Park Slope). (718) 499-3253. F to Seventh Avenue.
Two Boots is immensely popular in Park Slope, serving delicious thin-crust "Cajun style" pizza with moderately spicy sauce plus accessories like andouille and sopressato sausage, and even crawfish. They also have other entrées, like po'boys. The large main room has high tin ceilings; a smaller side room is cramped but quieter and its wall boasts a mural with indifferently proportioned scenes from the two boot-shaped lands of Louisiana and Italy - swampy bogs, jazz musicians, ancient Roman architecture. In warm weather, an outdoor courtyard offers gaily painted walls and painful plastic lawn chairs.
Children abound at kid-friendly Two Boots, which is at the core of a neighborhood known for stroller gridlock. There are some special deals for children, and tables are paper-covered and have cups of crayons. At lunch and dinner times the place is a madhouse, with children fighting to be louder than the jukebox's alternative music. Towheaded little hellions climb steps to the kitchen delivery window to stare excitedly at the cooking, sometimes sitting on the window counter itself, rubbing their little butts on the serving surface. For adults there is music, often live two nights a week, plus sweet yet strong drinks served in mason jars or little glass boots. If you prefer frat boy to froufrou, Jagermeister and Goldschläger are both highlighted on the drinks menu.
My favorite Two Boots drink is the Gatorbite (tequila, Cointreau, schnapps, and ginger ale) but for this review I asked for a mimosa. The menu said the $5 mimosa had fresh juice, but I was served one with ordinary juice (though also with lots of tasty champagne) and billed but $3.50 for it. When I queried the bill, I was told I should have "specified" the fresh-juice mimosa, even though no other had been listed on the menu. The strawberry frozen daiquiri I then ordered was pleasantly thick, potent, and cold. It didn't use freshly frozen fruit and I was charged $5.50 instead of $6. Was I supposed to be more specific in ordering that, too?
The $8.95 "Mississippi Benedict" came with coffee served lukewarm and a good bread plate including a chunk of focaccia. I ordered sausage, rather than my usual bacon, because of the wonderful sausages found on Two Boots pizza. But this side dish turned out to be ordinary breakfast links, flavorful and perfectly grilled but the same stuff you'd make at home, usually precooked and frozen. Several blocks down, Corn Bread Café can serve andouille sausage along with its eggs Benedict.
The Mississippi Benedict's poached eggs are sometimes properly cooked, but often overcooked, too solid. Its Black Forest ham is usually not even warm, but cold. The superb "Creole hollandaise" is hot both in temperature and spice; I always want much more of it. The English muffins are undertoasted. The side dish is a mix of chunked potatoes and sweet potatoes with caramelized onions. That could have used some bright color, but tasted wonderful.
Two Boots waiters tend to be terribly overworked, thanks to dealing with crowds and children. Orders are usually delivered accurately, but badly timed and in ignorance of exactly who asked for what. On one review visit, in addition to the mimosa confusion, coffee came late and water was not served till halfway through the meal. On another visit, everything was fine till I got all my food, but the waiter disappeared, instead serving the room I was not in.
Two Boots eggs Benedict could be easily improved, earning three stars instead of two, if any two of the following were improved: the quantity of their delicious hollandaise, the poaching time for eggs, and grilling the cold ham. There's little authentically Cajun about Two Boots. Its fusion of food from Louisiana and Italy is tasty, but no such creativity has gone into their eggs Benedict, which has only spicy sauce to recommend it. If Two Boots isn't going to make a good traditional eggs Benedict, it should instead apply to it some real Cajun cooking.
Rest rooms: Two very small restrooms are kept surprisingly clean, considering the daytime child and nighttime bar crowds.
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