What is eggs Benedict?
Life Café is at a corner of Tompkins Square Park, sharing the Lower East Side with Pentacostal storefront churches and pricey new tenement coops. Tiled floors and tin ceilings sandwich a small room busy with a bar, mirror- and decoupage-paneled columns, abstract wall paintings, and miscellaneous kitsch. Tables are small, grouped together as needed. The pop and soul music is as loud as the patrons, most of whom are young and cute. Some are older and not so cute, but have bought pricey new tenement coops to be among, and raise their own, young and cute.
Life Café's eggs Benedict brunch is $8.95 and includes coffee, tea, or soda, plus a draft beer, mimosa, bloody Mary, or fresh orange juice. Coffee was hot and served promptly, and refilled often. My mimosa was cold with so much good champagne that I couldn't have cared less about its juice's pedigree. A bloody Mary arrived contradictorily unchilled yet overfilled with ice; still, it was tastily spicy and strong. There's no free table bread, but a big basket of cornbread is well worth the investment.
The eggs Benedict's hollandaise sauce was a delicious balance of yolk, butter, and lemon. Eggs were nicely poached. Thick slices of Canadian bacon were well grilled. English muffins were well toasted, if sliced instead of fork split. Home fries (black beans are an alternative) of finely chunked potato with red pepper and onion were good enough for my vegetarian date to snitch from with pleasure. Life Café's dinner menu has more vegetarian and vegan options; the brunch menu has only a few. The too-aromatic ball of baby sprouts that once garnished the eggs Benedict, unpleasantly reminding you of more healthful options than this thousand-calorie entrée, has been replaced by far less distracting slivers of lettuce.
Rest room: Spacious and well ventilated.
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