One Diner Breakfast, Five Ways

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1. Le Bonbonniere -- Here's the prototype breakfast. The yolks are runny, the whites slightly browned, the sausages tasting strongly of sage, every third bite of potato good, toast nicely done and delivered buttered, coffee OK and refills endless.


You may think all diner food is the same. Well, the menus may be the same, but each diner executes the standards in its own idiosyncratic way. Take the regular egg breakfast. Each place makes, say, sunnyside-up eggs differently. Diner food is all about nuance. Sometimes the yolk is really runny, and the white is slightly runny too. Sometimes the yolk is half-hard, and the white crisps up around the edges. Sometimes the breakfast comes with good potatoes; sometimes the potatoes are mediocre or even awful.

I've been eating the same breakfast at Le Bonbonniere for nearly a decade: two eggs over easy, buttered whole wheat toast, hash browns, sausage, and coffee. The sausage comes in three thin links, like the kind I loved as a kid in the Midwest, and the flavor is sagey. One day I decided to try the same breakfast at several other diners within hollering distance to see if I could find a better rendition. Here are my notes.


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2. Washington Square Diner -- Eggs slightly less done than I like with no browned albumen, potatoes good and nicely crusted, sausages tasting plainly of pork and little else, but very nicely split and grilled, toast arrives buttered, coffee above average.
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3. Waverly Restaurant -- Serving the breakfast in a mock-skillet is pretty nifty, eggs not too nicely done, though, hash browns of the shredded variety and not crusty enough, sausages profuse and porky, lemon on top of potatoes plainly weird, coffee OK and refilled at intervals, but the worst part is that the toast arrives cold with butter pats on the side -- won't melt!
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Next: The final two


Location Info

La Bonbonniere

28 Eighth Ave., New York, NY

Category: Restaurant

Washington Square Diner

150 W. 4th St., New York, NY

Category: Restaurant

Waverly Restaurant

385 6th Ave., New York, NY

Category: Restaurant

The Village Den

225 W. 12th St., New York, NY

Category: Restaurant


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13 comments
Village Voice
Village Voice

We must say, NJ really is the tops for diners.

makanmata
makanmata

I've noticed that the cooking at Washington Square Diner hasn't been as good since its reopened.  Bonboniere has never been better though, and is still a real gem.

Natali Wind
Natali Wind

Definitely bookmarking this article because I've never been to any of the restaurants listed. I love diners. I like Cafe 82 on the Upper West Side and Tom's Restaurant in Morningside Heights. But my absolute favorite is actually in New Jersey so if you ever find yourself in Hazlet, NJ, don't hesitate to check out Red Oak Diner & Lounge!

eqx1979
eqx1979

@robertsietsema I'm going back in a few weeks, will check it out! Other places I loved there: boulion bilk, Lawrence, dominion sq tavern

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