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Eggs Benny with Emily: Iron Gate

August 10, 2018

It’s Friday and I am out of here. I’m so not even remotely prepared for the trip to Philadelphia today. The one thing I had planned, lunch at John’s Roast Pork, was on my calendar for a day the shop is closed. At least there is still time to reschedule. Whew.

I’m thankful to be able to share another guest post from Emily L. She’s keeping up her end of the deal and trying the eggs benedict all over town in search of the very best.

Like her, I’ve heard lots of people say that Iron Gate would be able to provide her the awesome eggs benedict experience she’s been craving. So, how did it stack up? Let’s hand it over to Emily, and I’ll chime in at the end with a few thoughts of my own.

Eggs Benedict Challenge: Iron Gate

Next up on the eggs benedict challenge is one of the most common answers when asked, “Who has the best eggs benedict in the capital region?”

I have been to Iron Gate Cafe many times for lunch before. Always fresh ingredients and nicely sized portions, the ambiance of a cafe within a house (with a killer patio) is always enough to keep me coming back. Somehow, I had never experienced their brunch before even though they serve it all day long.

This past Sunday, the boyfriend and I headed out to give Iron Gate a try. After waiting for twenty minutes, we were seated on the patio to meander the large menu. Iron Gate offers three eggs benedict dishes on the menu daily; the rising sun (made with black bean burgers), the original, and the florentine. After a weekend of heavy eating, I decided to try the florentine for a lighter touch; the boyfriend opted for the special benedict of the day, a lobster one.

Our fast moving waitress quickly brought our steaming hot food to us. The florentine eggs benedict features a sweet portuguese muffin, sautéed spinach, chopped tomatoes, poached eggs, and a pesto hollandaise. I added on avocado ($2 extra) and subbed the home fries for dressed greens ($1). The highlight of the benedict was the portuguese muffin, large and sweet, it balanced the heaviness of the sauce and the poached eggs perfectly. Unfortunately, the eggs were slightly overcooked and not as runny as I like; the pesto hollandaise was an unusual take and complimented the muffin perfectly. The spinach and tomatoes were lost in the midst of the other flavors; the muffin did stay crisp until the end, never reaching the level of sogginess often found with a traditional english muffin. The avocado was a nice addition, but four small slices did not seem fair for the $2 charge.

The lobster benedict ($16), on the other hand, was a bit of a disappointment. The benedict was described as a cheddar biscuit featuring buttery chunks of lobster, poached eggs, avocado, and hollandaise with breakfast potatoes. The biscuit was more like an english muffin with just a mild hint of cheese. There were nice chunks of lobster on top of the poached eggs, but it was lost in the hollandaise sauce. The avocado did not really compliment the other ingredients; it seemed like a last minute addition. While it wasn’t bad, we both agreed we would not order it again and jealously looked over at our neighbor’s table who had ordered the John Denver (grilled cornbread topped with scrambled eggs, bacon, and pepper jack hollandaise)

I do love Iron Gate, but overall I was a bit underwhelmed by their eggs benedict. Better than City Line or Cafe Madison, the two benedicts we tried did not come close to the delicious versions found at New World Bistro. The challenge continues.

Looking at the pictures from her brunch, it’s painfully obvious that Emily is being exceedingly kind. I don’t even know where to begin.

Let’s start with the florentine. And on the plate of the florentine, let’s take on its defining characteristic. The spinach. It looks raw. Actually, it looks worse than raw. It looks raw, and crushed, and withered. It actually hurts me to gaze upon it.

Emily complained that given the supplemental cost to add avocado, she should have received more than four small slices. I know avocados are tricky. If I owned a restaurant, I probably would never put them on the menu. But if you have avocados on the menu, the kitchen shouldn’t send them out with brown fibrous streaks running through the slices.

Those are avocados that should be mashed. You slice the perfect avocados. You mash the imperfect ones. Especially if they are going to crown a dish. This is basic stuff.

But the lobster eggs benedict looks even worse.

Let’s start with the most basic part of this dish, the egg. If you’re charging $16 for a poached egg dish, you don’t serve the egg where the whites failed to coalesce around the yolk. You just don’t.

I’ve looked into the kitchen of a high volume brunch spot. The stove has a whole freaking pot full of eggs in swirling simmering water. They take about three minutes to cook. If one comes out badly, you pluck a better one from the pot. Perfect poached eggs are easy to tell on sight and by touch.

Adjacent to the eggs are a couple more slices of less than pristine avocado.

What is painfully obvious is how quickly the kitchen threw this dish together. The plate itself is a mess, with grease splatter around the potatoes, and a trail of hollandaise going over the edge of the rim.

Have I said this was a sixteen dollar order of eggs? It doesn’t look like it. And had I paid that much for this dish, my write up would have been far less kind.

The question for those out there who like Iron Gate, is if these dishes appear typical, or was the restaurant simply having a bad day?

5 Comments leave one →
  1. enough already! permalink
    August 10, 2018 8:13 pm

    Wow, profusser…you are harsh but spot on. I hope iron gate takes this review seriouslyto heart. This makes me not want to go there any time soon.

    • August 10, 2018 11:25 pm

      I think the moral of this story is to skip the eggs benny at Iron Gate. And avoid anything with avocado. The John Denver sounds like a riff on the Miss Albany Diner’s famous Rocky Mountain High, and from Emily’s telling, could be the thing to get.

      My current belief is that restaurants is small town with big menus should be judged by the things they do best, and not some random selection of dishes they offer.

      For what it’s worth, I can’t review a meal I’ve never eaten. Critiquing photos of food can be illuminating, but it can only reveal so much.

  2. Kate permalink
    August 11, 2018 8:56 am

    I love Iron Gate and the John Denver is my favorite brunch there but I totally agree with you based on the pictures. The spinach barely hit the pan so sauteed is a bit of an exaggeration. This past weekend I got sweet potato and chorizo hash with scrambled eggs and chipolte hollandaise and it was outstanding.

  3. Dave permalink
    August 12, 2018 7:49 am

    You don’t say where the Iron Gate is?

  4. Marco permalink
    August 20, 2018 9:56 am

    Meh, on the food at Iron Gate

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