135A North 5th Street off Bedford Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
about $90 for dinner for four, without drinks, without tip
Updated, December 2008: We closed egg for one Friday night to celebrate my birthday where we had fried chicken, sautéed kale, collard greens, mac-n-Grafton cheese, plus some corn bread and biscuits–all deserves another ♥
I know the owner of egg, that breakfast place in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, with the hipsters waiting outside on weekends. George Weld is a good friend and he also happens to be the chef. Forgive me if this review may seem biased, but I swear I’m not giving anything to this restaurant that’s not well-deserved: three hearts for breakfast and two for dinner.
For years, egg shared space with Sparky’s and only served breakfast until noon. Now, egg has taken over the entire space and is serving lunch (on weekdays only) and dinner until 10pm. A liquor license is on the way. All the menus are still Southern-inspired, and they still get all the ingredients they can from small and local producers. Needless to say, I am happy and proud of the egg family–so we made the trek from Harlem to Williamsburg one weekend to congratulate them.
After a ridiculous 40-minute wait for breakfast, we were finally seated right by the door. A few more diners came in before the waitress put up a note saying that the kitchen was closed until 6pm. People still came in to try and get food, letting in the draft behind me. I was uncomfortable and cold, but our waitress made sure that we got the next table that freed up farther from the entrance. After being transfered, we finally took our coats off and enjoyed our late breakfasts of eggs, grits, scrapple (pork scraps with cornmeal), bacon, hash browns, and pork sausage. For a place full of hipsters, the attitude of the staff makes you feel like you’re not even in New York City. They’re friendly, accommodating, and very patient with the hungry customers.
Given the wait, we took our time to eat and only left when the restaurant was empty. My three-egg Grafton Cheddar omelet was served with broiled tomatoes and hashbrowns. The cheese was sharp, but the tomatoes balanced everything out. I wish the restaurant would offer more side vegetables in the future. I also got a side of sausage at the end. Perfectly salty and juicy, I would choose it over any kind of eggs. Cameron’s cheese grits didn’t last very long. They weren’t too mealy or too soft, and the cheesy tang was perfectly balanced with the creamy texture. And the biscuits–oh, the biscuits–transported us with their crispy edges and fluffy insides. Have I mentioned the lightly sugared donuts brought to our table before our plates arrived?
We spent the rest of our afternoon walking around the neighborhood and checking out the stores down Bedford and Grand. After several drinks at Larry Lawrence, two more people joined us, and we all decided to walk as fast as we could back to the restaurant to eat dinner. We made it before they closed the kitchen at 10pm, but alas, there was no more fried chicken. This was upsetting to our entire party, but we made do with the pork chops and sausage with cabbage, fish and hominy, and perhaps the best dish on the menu, slow-roasted duck and dirty rice.
The menu is straightforward, and the food is hearty. One of my friends was surprised to love the cabbage, but another wished the pork were tastier. My duck was crispy outside and tender inside. The “dirty” rice reminded me of how Filipinos would scrape off the oil and spice bits from the bottom of a pan with rice and serve it just the way it is: dirty. The fish was under-seasoned–we bet a side of fried chicken would have made it taste better! While they’ve got the breakfast down pat, dinner is very new to egg, and it definitely needs to be refined. Never running out of fried chicken would be the perfect place to start.