I lived in Spain last year and spent the whole year without a single decent brunch. Evidently, the Spanish don’t brunch. The only brunch we had was at a hotel that catered to tourists. It was okay but not great. Eggs benedict is nonexistent. After living in a Mediterranean paradise, I wasn’t looking forward to moving to Austin, however, I was salivating over the idea of having an American style brunch of eggs benedict. So far, I haven’t found the perfect eggs benedict or brunch spot in Austin. Though today I came pretty close, The Eastside Café.
This morning I slept in until around noon. Upon awakening I made a reservation for two at 2:00 pm at The Eastside Café. The woman who took our reservation was extremely pleasant. We got to the restaurant a little early but were promptly seated. The café is in an old house. It is quaint without being fussy. There were many people seated around us but the acoustics were such that we were able to speak at a normal level. The waitress was friendly and prompt.
My husband and I, both ordered the eggs benedict. It comes with a blueberry bran muffin; but I asked for a blueberry blintz instead. When our order arrived it was extremely hot. The eggs benedict comes with potatoes. The potatoes were so hot I had to wait a few minutes to eat them. Some might disagree; but I like it when my food comes out of the kitchen hot. The eggs benedict was good but not great. The hollandaise sauce was a little neutral tasting. I prefer mine a little more lemony and a touch more salty. The potatoes were served without salt. All in all, I would have liked to have had more salt. I shared my blintz and had half of my husbands extremely small, scone looking, muffin. The muffin was good but like I said very small. The blintz was divine. It wasn’t cloyingly sweet or dense like some others I’ve had. The filling was akin in consistency to the filling in Beard Papas cream puffs, extremely light. The blueberry topping was full of blueberry flavor with just a little added sugar. After the meal, I had a cup of excellent coffee. I never felt rushed. I was pretty pleased with The Eastside Café and will definitely give it another try.
Other places we’ve tried have been only fair:
We’ve gone to the Magnolia Café South many times. It’s near our house and sort of a “no brainer”. The eggs benedict is good but I don’t care for the potatoes. The eggs benedict comes with a fruit cup. Several times my fruit cup has had sliced orange with peel and a glued on sticker. I wondered if they had washed the oranges before they cut them up and put them in my fruit cup. The atmosphere at Magnolia is okay; but it sometimes looks a little dirty and oftentimes they play the music very loudly. One Sunday we waited for 45mins for a table (they don’t take reservations). I never order coffee there anymore; It’s just terrible. The pluses are: better eggs benedict and slightly cheaper than Eastside.
Two Sundays ago we went to The Counter Café. I was very excited about it because my husband loves diners. The servers were nice and efficient. I had The Counter Benedict which is eggs benedict with pastrami served over a biscuit. The biscuit was very sweet. It was an interesting dish. I won’t say that I hated it but probably wouldn’t order it again. We didn’t stay for coffee because we couldn’t wait to leave. Throughout our meal we heard the clanging and scraping of dishes and pans. It was loud and jarring. I thought it was kind of on the expensive side for a dineresq sort of place.
Once, we tried the South Congress Café. I saw online that they serve brunch everyday until 4pm. (A side note: I find it surprising that places here in Austin stop serving brunch at 2pm.) The atmosphere is modern casual. The presentation was beautiful. The waitress was nice. The eggs benedict was so-so. It was served with a potato pancake that was sort of lukewarm. I didn’t find it that tasty. It was nice to look at though. I doubt if I would go back. The eggs benedict wasn’t that expensive; but other things on the menu were a little pricey.
On occasion, when we’ve been eating with a large group, we’ve brunched at North by Northwest.
They don’t serve eggs benedict but have a dish called poached eggs which is similar. It’s eggs benedict served on a crab cake instead of a English muffin. I hail from the land of crab cakes, and the crab cake in this dish isn’t up to par. I think the frying oil is not hot enough because it’s always very greasy. Why do I keep ordering it? Because I keep thinking they’re going to get it right. It’s pretty good otherwise. It’s a lot of food. It’s served with a big banana nut muffin and fruit. The coffee is fine and the service is good. I think I’d rather go at night and sample beer and eat hors d'oeuvres.
I haven’t heard and or read about any other good places. I like to keep my eggs benedict under $10. Cheap, ain’t I? I’d love to know what you think...