What is eggs Benedict?
The Corn Bread Cafe has closed.
434 7th Avenue between 14th and 15th Sts., Brooklyn, 11215 (Park Slope). (718) 768-3838. F to 7th Avenue; or N/R to 9th St. to see the neighborhood, or N/R to Prospect Ave. to see the boonies.
Bettina Harris, a Bronx native who grew up in North Carolina and went to the culinary-arts program at City Tech, spent almost two decades cooking in French and Italian restaurants. She opened the Corn Bread Café in 1996, four doors down from Max & Moritz, and offers an offbeat soul-food eggs Benedict.
Instead of hollandaise sauce, the "Creole-style" eggs Benedict -- $6.50, recently increased after years of costing $5.95 -- features a delicious, thick, chunky tomato sauce which, with chopped celery, green pepper, and onion, a combination reminiscent of okra. One or two poached eggs sits on flavorful, roughly sliced, grilled "country ham." A single slice of white toast (whole wheat also offered) replaces the halves of English muffin. Home fries of cubed potato with scraps of onion are on the bland side, so instead order the grits, which are supposed to be bland. A side dish of bacon is meaty, but I prefer the $2 side of two split, spicy andouille sausages. The $3.25 corned beef "hash" adds large cubes of good meat to the basic home fries; ordering the former along with the latter would be redundant. Two Boots, with its pretension to Cajun cuisine, has finally the hint instead of offering ordinary overspiced breakfast links as its sausage side dish. The $4 mimosas have gone from cold, fresh juice to pulpless carton juice, alas, and are skimpy on the champagne. Brunch includes a couple of warm, delicious little corn muffins. Coffee is $1.25 extra. Service, unfortunately, can be slow whether the restaurant is full or empty -- one element southern culture that no restaurant need to work so hard to replicate.
There is a wide menu of meaty southern entrées. Fish and chips are also good. The deep-fried whiting's meat is flaky but firm, its juices sealed beneath its breading. Fries are good, if oddly sweet.
Order the fruit cup and you'll find it topped with the most generous blob of wonderful, ice-cold chantilly cream I've ever found in a restaurant.
Open for about four years, the restaurant still looks new with its shiny, freshly sealed floors. Its exposed-brick walls host Afrocentric oils and abstract metal sculpture. It's a cozy place to eat. In warm weather a backyard is open, with a few tables. Some natural light gets in from the front windows, despite the clutter of taped-up menus and reviews.
Rest room: Clean, and comfortable.
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