By STEVEN DeSALVO
for Montclair Local
In Montclair Eats, food writer Steven DeSalvo compares dishes at Montclair restaurants.
DeSalvo has a degree in hospitality business management from the University of Delaware and has worked extensively in restaurants and hotels.
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Name a more versatile food item than the hen egg. You can’t!
Because it does not exist.
In the past, I have written about eggs as a component of breakfast sandwiches, but I wanted to expand on the topic of eggs because I feel they deserve more than just one article. This time around, I explored eggs in a more atypical breakfast setting. Nothing as simple as fried eggs and bacon was consumed during this experiment about town. The three establishments I sampled this week were: Le Salbuen, where I tried their take on Eggs Benedict, which featured roasted salmon and a lemon hollandaise sauce. Next up was a newcomer to town, Luisa, with their “Shrimpies for Breakfast,” a mushroom and shrimp omelet served inside their house-baked pita. Finally, I had the huevos rancheros from Toast. This preparation is yet another favorite of mine.
- At Le Salbuen, the egg options are extensive. It was very difficult for me to narrow down my choice, but my server’s excitement at my mention of the Eggs Benedict with roasted salmon, sweet potato hash, and a fantastically lemony hollandaise sauce turned it into an easy decision. I loved this preparation both visually and when I ate it; to be fair, I still preferred eating it. The balance between all of the elements is excellent. I especially liked the sweetness of the potatoes, which really helped to tie together the savory elements on this plate, giving the diner a reference point to balance the palate. The generous amount of acidity in the hollandaise sauce helped to cut through the fat in it, as well as the fat in the eggs and roasted salmon. This is necessary to keep the dish in harmony. The sweet and savory theme adds an almost perpendicular flavor that works so well you wonder why you’ve never had it before.
- Luisa offered up what is almost an egg sandwich. It came inside the most delicious house-baked pita bread. The scramble included cherry tomatoes, mixed sautéed mushrooms, and perfectly poached shrimp that resulted in a multisensory culinary experience. The eggs were cooked and seasoned perfectly, along with all of the other elements of this dish. They all had their own distinct flavor and texture and they all felt at home in this preparation. The pita bread that it is served in has to be the best part because it soaks up all of the juices from the scramble; it is so intensely packed with flavor and you wish you had three more pieces of it. There are a number of egg options on the menu that all come in a fresh pita. I am excited to make my way down the list!______________________________________________________________________
- READ: Montclair Eats; A Dumpling A Day______________________________________________________________________
- The final plate I sampled is a longstanding favorite of mine: huevos rancheros. Something about fried or poached eggs on top of tortillas with salsa and beans is so comforting to me. I think that comfort lies in the fact that it tastes so good. Toast’s take on this classic is quite delicious and made in a pretty typical style with toasted tortillas, refried beans, pico de gallo, and the option to add avocado, which I obviously took. The bright and fresh flavors of the cilantro and tomato salsa round out the experience of the eggs, with sour cream, beans, avocado, and cotija cheese. Each of these elements need a significant amount of freshness to balance out their richness. Everything here is flavored very elegantly and it gives the palate a lot to think about. This dish certainly has the largest amount of flavor and texture combinations of all the dishes I have sampled this time around.
All of these examples are distinct. They display the dexterity of eggs and how they can be used as a vessel to showcase other flavors even as they go about being the star of the show. As always, try these dishes for yourselves and let us know what you think! Where is your favorite place to get eggs in town? Let us know at email@example.com.
In this column:
- Le Salbuen
97 Walnut St.
110 Walnut St.
700 Bloomfield Ave.