Feb 5, 2014

Tactical (Restaurant) Review: West Egg Cafe

When seeking any breakfast, be it in Atlanta or elsewhere, I make it almost a general rule of thumb to avoid any spot that has the word ’egg’ in it. You see, 'egg' screams generic to me like 'ladder' does to a firefighter. Sure, the ladder is a major tool of the trade and is used daily, but throwing up a ladder on the side of a structure isn't what makes the local news. But when done right, an experienced firefighter will recognize it for what it truly is, a piece of art.

It takes much practice and skill to expertly handle a ladder. To ensure the butt end is adequately far enough from the structure to measure the correct climbing angle, that it's spun facing the right direction to make certain it doesn't compromise it's rated weight capacity, the knot is fashioned safely and efficiently to tie off the halyard, the amount of extension is such for the desired use; be it rescue, search, emergency egress, etc. Sure it's easy in theory and as long as you get it up, it serves a purpose. Eggs fall into the same category for me. Easy to learn, terribly hard to master, I appreciate a good egg. 

All this exposition leads me to pulling up my chair to a table at the Westside spot, West Egg Café. Located near such hot culinary spots as JCT Kitchen, Star Provisions and Antico Pizza Napoletana, and a quick drive from Atlantic Station and IKEA, it fills the breakfast gap nicely. The façade of the restaurant is minimalistic with a very bold red wall with a bit of whimsy (nice pig). Red Adirondack chairs sit flanking floor to ceiling windows that lead into the café/bakery/bar. The outside says slick southern. Even better, located to the B-side (left side facing north) of the restaurant, there’s free covered parking with a minutes walk.

Upon entering the restaurant, one walks into the café end, an eclectic mishmash of coffee house and subway station (I couldn’t help but be reminded of The General Muir). Be it the large communal table, the book lined shelf, or the file cabinet stuffed with sugars, it was a fun vibe. The white subway tiles stood contrast to the bottles, cakes and staff. Nice.

The dining room carried the theme though in an open floor fashion. It was a weekday morning so the hall was packed (with some of Atlanta’s finest, AFD, always a good sign) so my wife and I opted for the outdoor patio. Covered with heaters, it was sparsely adorned in line with the outside of the restaurant but did the job.

Dinning hall
Functional outdoor patio
The breakfast menu was reminiscent of other classic southern fare but the whimsy carried on here as well. Southern comforts such as pimento cheese, biscuits, and fried green tomatoes littered the standards with offerings from the bakery as well. I knew going in what I was going to order from recommendations from previous patrons and was thankful they were still on the menu. Note that they serve hot food daily and till the night with burgers and beer amongst other things with Monday and Tuesday being the notable exceptions.
Belgium Waffle with Spiced Butter
I started with the Belgium Waffle with Spiced Honey Butter. Extremely light and crisp, the syrup was actually needed to give this waffle some needed weight. So feather light, without the well-spiced butter, I envisioned the waffle floating away. Recommended as a complementary side to a savory dish, this by itself would only have pissed me off instead of filled me up, but delicious just the same.

Fried Green Tomato Wrap with Roasted Garlic Grits
To fill by belly properly, I ordered the Fried Green Tomato Wrap, which came stuffed in a whole-wheat tortilla with an aggressive horseradish dill sauce (a revelation for me) slathered around scrabbled eggs, bacon, cheddar cheese, and the star, the tomatoes themselves. Well balanced needing only minor seasoning (salt please), this was good. Do yourself a favor and order a side of the Roasted Garlic Grits, which reminded my of some remote, forgotten Italian-style polenta, well done.

Smoked Gouda Omelet, Skillet Potatoes and Biscuit
My wife stuck to the traditional build your own omelet. Seeing Smoked Gouda on the menu she made her start there and surround it up with mushrooms, tomatoes, onions and jalapeños. A side of skillet potatoes (just standard quality) and a biscuit (better then most but not great) rounded out the dish. Overall, I’d have to say a shrug of the shoulders dish.

Bottomless coffee (solid) was offered tableside, cutlery is packaged in a wooden box, and service offered by a courteous wait staff. Note that I did not partake in any alcoholic beverages (it was breakfast people) nor anything from the bakery as I usually do, but the bakery offerings, though slim by the time we reached the place, looked their part. I was told that ordering is upon request, nice.

West Egg Café was a nice discovery. I enjoyed the vibe, the clientele, and most importantly, the food. This was just my kind of speed and felt so right in the Westside neighborhood. Nothing world shattering here but just solid food at fair Atlanta prices and a solid recommend. And like my Atlanta brothers and sisters from AFD, who realized that this place knows how to throw a ladder, I’ll be back.

Review date: Jan 2014
3 Alarms

West Egg Cafe on Urbanspoon

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