I was going to write a scathing restaurant review. I’ve written and rewritten it in my head for three days now. I’m just going to go with what I have. Perhaps my anger has subsided. Or I realized how trivial it is to be angry at a restaurant over poached eggs. Or not. Here goes the post, in any case:
Poached eggs are a perfect food. I likes my yokes runny. I like poached eggs on their own, over rice, over salads (Salade Lyonnaise being a long-time favorite), over toast, in sandwiches, on sandwiches. You can basically count on any dish being vastly improved with the addition of a poached egg.
Restaurant rules I believe in and respect:
1) The menu is a contract (I had this drilled into me at culinary school)
2) The customer is (almost) always right (…and certainly be nice to them all at all costs).
Let us begin.
“Benedicts” is a popular eatery in Tel Aviv. They have two branches, both in very fashionable neighborhoods. They are open 24 hours a day, and this is very very rare in Israel. And their theme? Breakfast. Only breakfast, 24/7.
And it works. It’s overpriced. Very overpriced. But it works. It has this upscale American diner feel crossed with something vaguely European…like a pancake house plopped itself at a sunny indoor-outdoor cafe in Provence. And as the name suggests…the signature dish is…Eggs Benedict.
Or is it? I’ve had it a couple times there. I should have learned after the first time. But you always have that thought…maybe it was a fluke last time…this time could be different. Bottom line: it’s not real Eggs Benedict. At the very least, even if you consider it a decent variation…it’s not well executed.
Definition of Eggs Benedict – 2 English muffins, toasted, topped with cooked ham or bacon (in good places stateside it’s often Canadian bacon), then topped with two poached eggs, all smothered in Hollandaise sauce.
Theirs rests atop thick cut slices of brioche, an eggy, buttery bread. It doesn’t work. At all. It’s so thick, you don’t taste the bacon for the vastness of surface area below it. It’s such a thick slice of bread, and such the wrong bread (it’s dense as hell!), that the egg yolk and sauce aren’t at all absorbed into it (something the spongy English muffin was born to do). Personally – I think it’s irresponsible – I’ve made brioche and I know how many eggs go into it – AND with a Benedict – customers are essentially being served 4+ eggs, not just the two they think they’re eating. Finally, their Hollandaise sucks. Big time. It’s been a staple of the household I grew up in, and let me tell you, I don’t think their Hollandaise even counts. There isn’t a detectable soupcon of lemon. None. And there goes the dish.
You’d think that would be my main complaint. Wrong.
This post has probably gotten long enough so that nobody will read this far. But I don’t care. The main problem at Benedicts is their lack of customer service. Every time I go, I never get what I want. And they’re unpleasant about it every time. I should have learned, and after this time, I have: just don’t go again. So I won’t.
Here’s what happened. I wanted the “Healthy Breakfast,” (no more crappy faux Benedict for me). It said, “2 eggs any way you choose them” or something similar, and it came with salads and cheese and bread. A healthy Israeli breakfast. Fine. The problem came when I ordered my eggs poached. They said no, we don’t do poached eggs. BS they don’t do poached eggs.
Long story short, after a long discussion with my waiter, and then a couple of long talks with the manager, it was clear I would not be getting my eggs. Their explanation: Eggs Benedict is their signature dish. They couldn’t go around serving poached eggs, willy nilly, when they wanted to maintain the poached eggs as only going with their signature dish.
Then why write, several times in the menu for other dishes, “eggs any way you want them?” I say, breach of contract. And even so, the customer is always right. Would it have killed them to give me my eggs? I was, after all, right.
I should have walked out. And do you know what this spineless blogger did instead? She ordered the Eggs Benedict — on their “normal bread” instead of their nasty brioche. Because she just had to have poached eggs! It is, in fact, one of the few places in Tel Aviv you can eat them…but apparently…ONLY in a bad Eggs Benedict.
I vowed to write a scathing review and make sure all of my Israeli friends read it. AND I vow now never to return. Even though I’ve met the owner’s wife at a creative writing seminar. Even though it is the closest restaurant to my house. Even though some of their dishes are so-so. Even though my doing this might not affect anyone else’s decision not to go (Israelis love the place – it’s a novelty – and they can get away with dodgy service because of it). Even though they’re the only ones open 24/7.
“Benedicts” has simply proven to be overpriced, mediocre, and arrogant. And there’s no fun in that, any day. Any American iHop would have more business in Tel Aviv. Their customer service certainly could run laps around what we get here. So…I’ll just have to poach my eggs at home…as annoying as it is to do.