What is eggs Benedict?
I'm Josh Karpf, and as you might have guessed by now, I'm crazy about eggs Benedict.
Feedback is welcome. Let me know about your eggs Benedict adventures and recipes. E-mail sent to me on eggs Benedict may be reprinted below unless otherwise requested.
Just read the Isabella's review and it was pretty dead-on (except the bit about the raisins, but you can't have everything).
- Stacey Wacknov
I loved reading your reviews. I'm in Los Angeles, and I've never been to New York (except via TV and movies), but I could "see" the restaurants you described and "taste" the food. You're a very good writer!
Because of you . . . my daughter and I are going to drive to Malibu Tuesday morning and have eggs benedict at Coogie's. Maybe I'll even try a mimosa!
- Judy Kelley
I enjoyed your site, very focused, fun, well-written. Have you considered branching out, maybe reviewing street food vendors? (This could encompass pretzels, hot dogs, and the seasonal chestnut stands . . . avoiding the touristy and ephemeral). Keep up the great work.
Several years ago I visited a bed and breakfast in Alaska and was served an eggs Benedict dish that was totally out of this world. The thing that sent this dish apart was the sauce, it wasn't the normal yellowish color, it was white and tangy, "zesty" if you will. I have asked many different cooks in Alaska about this and no one seems to have any idea. So if you can help I would be most grateful.
Starving in Alaska,
Mmmmmm Benedict. I transplanted to San Francisco five years ago, and live in Marin County. I'm a Cancer, ruled by my stomach, and as such am oft overcome with the need for rich, creamy, tasty-as-all-getout foods.
Perhaps the most significant culinary discovery I've encountered since living in California was the eggs Benedict Monterey at Mama's Royal Cafe, in Mill Valley, CA. The Monterey, a.k.a. "Monty," is a great California dish: eggs Benedict, but with fresh, ripe avocado replacing the meat.
Please, don't be alarmed, this is an ordinary practice for CA cuisine, putting avocados in everything. If you haven't tried this dish, or some variation of it, I highly recommend it. My experience at Mama's prompted me to explore the Benedict world more thoroughly, and I've since sampled the dish - always replacing the meat with avocados - at numerous breakfast joints.
If you're ever in the area, the one you must check out is La Pappa Cafe, a small breakfast eatery also in Mill Valley, in fact, just down the street from Mama's. I've used my extensive Benedict encounters at this fine eatery to perfect the experience. For instance, I always ask for the sauce on the side. This provides some piece of mind, knowing you have control over how much death you spread upon the dish. Also, you have more freedom to distribute the rich sauce, along with the egg yolks, upon the tasty but relatively dry potatoes, assuring that the whole dish becomes more of a holistic experience than just some run of the mill artery-stuffer.
I read your Web page concerning eggs Benedict yesterday and found it quite interesting. In fact, my father, Jack Benedict, who passed away in 1993, spent the last 20 years of his life as owner of a restaurant in Winter Park, Colorado. The restaurant was named after his cousin, Lemuel C. Benedict, the original founder of eggs Benedict.
Lemuel Benedict, a Wall Street broker, ordered the now famous dish in 1894 at the Waldorf Hotel. Hoping to soothe the effects of a night's carousing (his hangover), he ordered "some buttered toast, crisp bacon, two poached eggs, and a hooker of hollandaise sauce."
The chef, Oscar Tschirky, the legendary "Oscar of the Waldorf," was so impressed that he put the dish on his breakfast and luncheon menus and named it "eggs Benedict." Chef Oscar's traditional Waldorf way of preparing eggs Benedict substituted ham for bacon and a toasted English muffin for toasted bread.
This version, the "Waldorf Story," appeared in the December 19, 1942 issue of the New Yorker magazine and is based on an interview with Lemuel Benedict the year before he died.
It should be noted that Lemuel was an upstanding citizen and a member of the New York Stock Exchange for 38 years.
The Legrand Benedict version was belatedly revealed in secondhand fashion in a food magazine in the 1970s.
Eggs Benedict is famous today due to the combination of Lemuel's order, Oscar Tschirky's promotion, and the old Waldorf restaurant's popularity and prestige. Eggs Benedict did not appear on other menus, not even Delmonico's, until many years later.
A modern confirmation of the New Yorker account is available in the contemporary oral testimony of Lemuel's nephew, Dr. Coleman H. Benedict of New York City, a professor emeritus of classics, Columbia University.
I have a variety of documentation and articles on this subject and my father spent years researching the history of Eggs Benedict. By the way, most people prefer Oscar's way to the original.
Very interesting, especially your comments about Thomas' English Muffins. As vice president of sales for Bays English Muffins, I am somewhat biased on the subject of English muffins. May I suggest trying eggs Benedict at one of midtown Manhattan's foremost "power breakfast" spots, Michael's Restaurant. The chef/owner, Michael Moriarty, features Bays English Muffins, as does Balducci's, the renowned specialty food retailer in lower Manhattan.
On a related subject, I noted with interest in your feedback section the comments of Mr. Cutts Benedict of Georgia. I knew his father, Jack, in the 80s and, in fact, supplied his restaurant there in Winter Park, CO, with Jones Dairy Farm Canadian-style bacon when I was a sales representative for Jones, the famous pork sausage manufacturer. Although Jack's Canadian-style bacon requirements were far too small to justify a sales trip from the Jones Dairy Farm offices in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, I enjoyed driving up to Winter Park for dinner and talking with Jack about food after a long sales day in the Denver area. It was an 80-mile trek for dinner up in the mountains, but it was well worth it. Thanks for the memories!
Oops! I forgot to suggest that you also visit our Web site for more info on Bays English Muffins. Oh, and one last thing, and very technically speaking, unless the Canadian bacon is made in Canada, it is referred to as "Canadian-style" bacon.
The comment on your Web site that eggs Benedict is "what our boys fought for in Nam" is an insult and low rent. Think about one of those "boys" lying bleeding and broken and then ask yourself if the comment is appropriate.
I very much liked your site. I am a big eggs Benedict fan myself, so any tips are welcome. I suggest you try out Tartin in the West Village (only go with two people or you will have a long wait). I thought you could improve your "review" part of the site, with one page that had a minireview (or at least showed the stars and the addresses of all the restaurants) so that one does not have to click on each restaurant to get a sense of it. That would make it much more user friendly. Good luck in your adventures.
[Great suggestion; I've implemented it.]
Your site is very nice and informative. . . . One restaurant you should review is Popovers, located at 86th Street and Amsterdam Avenue. Their eggs Benedict are sublime . . . served in a crusty popover. If you can stand the wait (which can often be long), it's well worth it. Keep up the good work!
Now that I've picked myself up from the floor and wiped the tears from my eyes from laughing about the Spam martini, I find eggs Benedict. Bravo! Few dishes rival eggs Benedict in their ability to simultaneously cement friendships and arteries.
Expanding on my vet's advice to give my runt, orphaned kitten an egg yolk from time to time, I gave her eggs Benedict at 4.5 weeks of age. (How could I say no to that face?) She physically shook with enjoyment while consuming it (sans muffin), a behavior I have yet to see her display for any other food in the four years since.
Should you find yourself in Minneapolis in the future, I highly recommend the eggs Benedict variations of the St. Paul Hotel, served of course with bottomless mimosas, or plain champagne or juice if one prefers . . . to be an idiot. The service is quite attentive. I miss the experience greatly now that I am in the eggs Benedict wasteland of central Illinois.
The best Eggs Benedict in New York, and perhaps in the country, can be found at the Allstate Cafe on West 72d St. in Manhattan. Not only is the Hollandaise perfect, but they use delicious ham instead of boring Canadian bacon. An added attraction is that brunch comes with a drink, juice, and coffee, and costs almost nothing. Allstate's eggs Benedict are the ones by which I judge all others.
No self-respecting reviewer would consider him/herself competent without reporting on the eggs benedict at the Miss Lyndonville Diner on U.S. Route 5, where brain death is regularly achieved just on the black coffee.
Like you, I love eggs Benedict, in fact, I found your Web site looking for a good hollandaise sauce recipe (which I'm on my way to the kitchen with now!) I have a recipe that I invented a couple of years ago that is much better than it might sound to someone who has never experienced brains and eggs . . . trust me on this one . . . it's great!
2 cups of your favorite hollandaise sauce
2 large buttermilk biscuits
1 small can (about 3 oz.) of pork brains
Drain brains and warm in a well buttered frying pan over medium heat. Scramble eggs and stir into brains, stirring constantly until eggs are fully cooked. Divide biscuits in half, cover with brains and eggs, then cover with warm hollandaise sauce and enjoy!
Hope you have the nerve to try this variation of a N.C. classic breakfast! Let me know how you like it!
The St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco serves (or served) Eggs Benedict Under Glass - wonderful! . . . It's only different because they serve it under a big glass goblet - it makes a memorable popping noise they release the glass. It's just beautiful, but I don't know how they do it, unless you'd just put the EB on the dish and cover it with a glass dome, maybe warm it in the oven so it "sets," and then pop it off. Very festive.
Since your site is dedicated to eggs Benedict, you may not care, but I thought I'd correct a few misapprehensions about 200 Fifth Avenue, my favorite bar.
The place is not part of the gentrification currently going on on Fifth Avenue . . . it's been around since 1987, when most yuppies feared to tread on Fifth Avenue. The place has always been comfortably integrated across a wide range of ethnic groups, and has excellent live Latin music on Fridays (as it has for many years).
The food is unremarkable, but rarely bad. People are the draw. Incidentally, the place was constructed from two stores; a wall was knocked down to create the space. One side was an old hardware store, and the wooden drawers which cover one wall still contain a few bolts and screws.
I have been a fan of eggs Benedict since I can remember. All other breakfast meals are inferior. If I could have it every day, I would. I am a big breakfast person and am a frequent visitor of a local diner in Washington, D.C. As soon as I walk in and the cook sees me, he starts right away on my eggs benedict. The greatest meal alive. Thank you for this shrine. One of the greatest sites on the Web today.
John Z. Grey
I followed a link from Chowhound to your site, mainly to check out the eggs Benedict ratings. Bravo! I've got a boyfriend that's obsessed with the dish, and I feel like somewhat of a vicarious expert. I'd like to give you two recommendations, both in the Cobble Hill/Carroll Gardens area:
1) Sur -- very good EB with an interesting twist. The eggs sit atop arepa/corn-cakey things (which are awesome), not the usual English muffins. Perhaps not for purists, but they're so tasty I can't see anyone having a problem. Brunch here is great in general, actually. It's not nearly as pricey as dinner, and most dishes come with excellent frites. The service is quite pleasant, the coffee is excellent, and you get great bread before, during, and after (if you'd like, I guess) the meal.
(2) Mignon - here we have the EB that my boyfriend proclaims the best he's ever tasted. Fabulous hollandaise, a generous portion of absolutely top-quality meat, and a really great sort of fried bread base (again, no muffins!) for it all. He raves about it constantly. Unfortunately, such excellence does not come cheaply. Brunch here is kind of pricey, although not as bad as a restaurant of similar quality in Manhattan. I'm always willing to pay up, though, since I had the best omelet of my life here. Although the wait for food is longer here than at some places, they serve pugliese bread from the Sullivan St. Bakery and quite cheerfully give you as much as you can cram in ( which is a lot with this stuff). Terrific staff and chef/owner, too.
Hope I didn't run on too long, but I was excited and inspired by your site. Take care and good eating.
Your reviews of instant hollandaise are no doubt on the mark . . . that said, in some countries, hollandaise is available in the brick-like TetraPak packages. The quality is somewhat variable, but were a great quality fresh sauce pegged at 100 points, the bricks can be from 50 to 80 points. Some of it, like the french Amora brand, is a bit runny for eggs Benedict, but is great on vegetables like asparagus and broccoli. The problem is that the bricks are hard to locate. I often bring in a few back when I travel outside the country. Let me know if you find a reliable source.
This was a ton of fun to read. My boyfriend loves Eggs Benedict, and with his birthday approaching, I decided to get online for a b-day breakfast recipe search. Your site was more than I could have hoped for, as a cooking novice. I myself have never tried the dish, but now, I am counting the days until next Sunday brunch! Thanks for your funny and thorough Web site.
Your collection of histories and anecdotes about eggs Benedict is entertaining as well as mouthwatering! My very favorite place to absorb them (outside my own home) is in the Morgan Court Cafe at the Pierpont Morgan Library, for Sunday brunch with mimosas and good coffee. My, the chef's able to make the egg yolks virtually flat as golden spheres above the whites, blanketed beneath smooth hollandaise sauce (I needed to ask for extra lemon wedges to get the citrus taste I like). Afterwards, what could be finer than a stroll through the Library to enjoy the Gilbert & Sullivan collection and other treasures? Just remember to wipe your chin before leaving the sunny, atmospheric courtyard.
Excellent information on eggs Benedict . . . and I love the eggs Hussard with marchad de vin . . . mmmm mmmm mmmm . . . I love cooking and cooking history . . . thanks for your research.
Went to New York for a long weekend at the end of May. Had my first ever eggs Benedict in a diner at the corner of 32nd Street and Broadway. Needless to say from then on I had it every day! Came to your excellent site to find the recipe so that I can make it now that I am back home.
I love eggs Benedict as much as you (maybe close) but I believe the hollandaise sauce (may I have extra) makes the meal. I'm definitely going to try many of these recipes you have provided on this Web site, but I'm looking for a recipe for hollandaise sauce in parictular. This sauce is made with cream cheese and it is the most rich sauce I've tasted but I can't find the recipe! If you have run across one, I would appreciate your help, and I'm sure your fans would like to taste this wonderful variation of hollandaise.
Your stuff is great, I love the wit and candor. Even though you had some not so nice things to say about my restaurant, Sotto Voce, I still enjoyed your articles.
Well, we did look over our eggs Benedict, and I agree the sauce has been a bit loose. We met with the kitchen staff and feel we nipped it in the butt. If you get the chance, try it out and let me know.
One thing I was surprised about was the comments about my staff. I pride myself on the efficiency of my waiters and they seem to score well with my customers.
The incident with your friend was probably a case of language difficulties. She may have asked a busboy who was not well versed in English and he may have passed word on that she wanted the food "doggy bagged." The fact that the waiter saw to it that she did not forget the package was a kind act if you factor that in.
As far as the staff blaming problems on kitchen and vice versa, the staff has been reminded that the restaurant is a team, and they must take charge of their tables and responsibilities. Hopefully we will not have that going on any more.
Mario Di Biase Jr.