Counter Benedict ($10)
I am not much of a breakfast person. But over the past couple of months I have been forced to reassess my relationship with the most important meal of the day. I have the Counter Cafe's Counter Benedict to thank.
Provenance seems to be all the rage in the food world these days. At the Counter Cafe, you know exactly where your food's coming from: about 6 feet away from you, if you happen to be sitting on a stool at the wooden counter that faces the grill.
The line-cook ninjas at the Counter Cafe usually have about nine things going at once, so it's amazing that without fail they're able to deliver two perfectly poached eggs. And even more amazing that they find the time to tell you exactly how they do it (hint: vinegar is key). The marshmallowy eggs hold up just well enough to keep hidden the rich, viscous yolk that comes oozing out like agave nectar at the nudge of a fork tip. Served on two homemade biscuits, the eggs sit atop a seared chunk of pastrami — traditionalists can opt for bacon, and vegetarians can sub spinach — and are bathed in a buttery and slightly tangy hollandaise sauce that somehow does not overpower the balance of the dish.
With that, the cooks could call it a day and still have an incredible dish on their hands. But they up the ante with what has to be considered one of the best preparations of potatoes in town. Toasted and crisped in a frying pan alongside chunks of flavorful onion and red pepper, the breakfast potatoes are enough to get even the biggest breakfast skeptic to rethink his behavior.
Counter Cafe. 626 N. Lamar Blvd. 708-8800, www.thecountercafe.com. Hours: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.]]