What is eggs Benedict?
EGGS BENEDICT NEW YORK
100 East 53rd St (near Park Ave.), New York, 10022 (East midtown). (212) 751-4840. 4/5/6 to Grand Central; E/V/6 to 51st St.
I'm a just a little too young to remember Brasserie's celebrated Philip Johnson décor before fire gutted the restaurant over ten years ago. The new design, with its glass or leather angular planes wrapped in curvy wooden walls, supposedly honors the earlier modernism.
To me, after walking down the whitely glowing grand stairway, seeing the delayed flatscreen videos of other entering guests, and dining on a table topped in soft, translucent resin, it's The Jetsons without the cartoon tackiness. Though since I did see one kid ignoring her brunching family as she watched Shrek 2 on a little DVD player, cartoons must still have their place. In the twentieth century, bored children had read at the table. An entitled crowd brunches well here, and families are actually in the minority.
Interior design aside, the $14 eggs Benedict was very good. Well-toasted English muffins supported high-mounded eggs that looked hard but turned but perfectly poached, their hot, runny yolks bursting free. A very large, thin slice of ham overlaid both halves. It was undistinguished in flavor, but quantity made up for quality. The hollandaise was on the buttery side.
Scalloped, thinly sliced potatoes came with long strips of caramelized onion. A $5 side dish of good bacon must have contained a third of a pound of pig. The $10 mimosa had pulpy juice of unknown provenance but was dominated by good, very fizzy champagne, and the $9 bloody Mary (slightly more for top-label vodka) was bit weak on spices (in which case the better booze might've been an option after all).
Black-clad servers, friendly though robotically reserved, glide from corner niches to refresh great coffee ($3.50) and to offer still, sparkling, or tap water, and twists of the big peppermill (another twentieth-century holdover). Table bread was a whole baguette girdled in wax paper to protect against the server's hand, with excellent butter is offered.
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