FOOD: Eggs 

The Incredible Egg: Local restaurants get cracking with eggs-traordinary dishes

It's hard to get more basic than eggs. They're a vital ingredient in many recipes, a standard breakfast food, an important part of a well-balanced diet. And, at some point, every breathing creature was once an egg. Think about that the next time you dig into an omelet. But many local restaurants go beyond basics when it comes to serving eggs — whether they use ones from local, free-range hens at Celeste Albers' Green Grocer Farm on Wadmalaw Island or the more standard supermarket varieties, chefs around town aren't afraid to make eggs the highlight of a dish.

Frisée Salad with garlic, bacon, and poached Sea Island farm egg
$9
FIG
232 Meeting St.
(843) 805-5900
www.eatatfig.com

Chef Mike Lata at FIG describes their popular frisée salad as a "safety net dish." Inspired by a salade lyonnaise, the combination of greens (usually frisée, but any bitter greens work well), vinaigrette, grated garlic, poached egg, and lardon bacon has been a mainstay on their menu for years. Though hard- and soft-boiled eggs are a common salad topper, FIG uses a local poached egg, taking the topping from accessory to main event. Cut into the soft egg and the warm yolk spreads down over the crisp greens, blending with the garlicky vinaigrette to create a rich dressing. When asked what the egg brings to the table, Lata says simply, "Integrity." He describes Celeste Albers' eggs as Wadmalaw sunshine spreading out over the greens. The thick chunks of salty bacon, paired with the egg, call to mind the classic breakfast combo, but the fresh frisée brightens the whole and keeps it from tasting too heavy. You might want to stock up on your sunshine though — Lata says that the salad may be removed from the menu later this year, to be replaced with more local dishes.

Ronnie Peterson with a Sea Island farm egg
$12
Monza
451 King St.
(843) 720-8787
www.monzapizza.com

On Upper King Street, Chef Emily Hahn at Monza is just as passionate about Celeste's eggs as Chef Lata ... as are many other chefs around town. She says they use them in everything they can, from salads to custards to pizzas. We tried the Ronnie Peterson — artichokes, arugula, and mozzarella — topped with an egg (it's offered in fine print at the bottom of the menu for an extra buck). They crack the egg onto the pie about 30 seconds into the cooking process, which lasts about 60 seconds after that — yep, those hellishly hot brick ovens can cook a pizza in 90 seconds, kids. Slicing into the pie and straight through the soft yolk, it spreads over the landscape of the pizza, sopping up arugula and coating the mozzarella and artichokes. It adds a surprisingly non-eggy depth of flavor, a sticky base, and a meatiness to go along with the artichokes. Give it a few minutes to sit on the pie and it'll taste best.

Tiger Eye, Tobiko
$5.50, $3.75
Wasabi
61 State St.
(843) 577-5222
www.wasabiofcharleston.com

Raw fish and roe not fresh enough for you? Up your sushi street cred by getting a raw quail egg cracked on top of some of the rolls at Wasabi, for an extra dollar. We tried the Tiger Eye and the Tobiko, both maki rolls whose main ingredient is fish eggs — masago and flying fish, respectively. The Tiger Eye comes with the quail egg, but you'll have to ask to get it on the Tobiko. The cute raw yolk atop a roll is supposedly the sign of a true sushi connoisseur, but we're not entirely convinced. If you can fit the entire roll in your mouth, you'll either swallow the yolk first, hardly tasting it, or it'll hit the roof of your mouth, break, and dribble down your throat. It tastes like a slimy raw egg yolk. We encourage you to try for yourself (if for no other reason than it's rumored to be a powerful aphrodisiac), but we'll be ordering sushi sans quail egg from now on.

Frittata
$6
Village Bakery
125 Pitt St.
Mt. Pleasant
(843) 216-6771

Next time you're in Pleasantville, a.k.a. the Old Village of Mt. Pleasant, stop by the idyllic Village Bakery on Pitt Street. They offer fresh-baked goods like doughnut muffins and cookies, but in terms of egginess, their frittata takes the cake. This traditional Italian omelet is made with 10 eggs, cheddar and cottage cheese, and jalapeños, though sometimes the ingredients vary. Like the more popular French omelet, the frittata is prepared in a skillet, but then it's moved into the oven to bake for several minutes and served open-faced. It is surprisingly firm, compared to a traditional omelet, and the peppers give the whole a strong, though not overwhelming, heat. This dish is definitely hearty enough to cross over into lunch territory.

Egg Salad Sandwich
$4.93
The Griffon
18 Vendue Range
(843) 723-1700

Walking into the Griffon for lunch can be a bit disconcerting, especially on a sunny day — this authentic pub across from Waterfront Park will make you forget it's daytime. It's the perfect place to pretend that you're in dreary Ireland and drink your worries away. Incidentally, it's also a great place to grab a bite to eat; we like to get lunch to go and head across the street to chow down while swinging away on the dock. Some say Griffon's egg salad sandwich is the best in the city, and we'll admit it's pretty darn good. We had it on thick toasted wheat bread, and the egg salad was spread in a nearly inch-thick layer and topped with lettuce and tomato. You can't get more basic than that, but when you've got that egg salad craving, this is sure to provide the perfect satisfaction.

ADVERTISEMENT

Deviled eggs
.75 each
The Glass Onion
1219 Savannah Hwy.
West Ashley
(843) 225-1717
www.ilovetheglassonion.com

When we visited the Glass Onion, the smell of paint still hung faintly in the air — after all, it was only their fourth day in business. The upscale counter-style diner on Savannah Highway serves fresh, mainly local, gourmet food at very reasonable prices. Like many of the nicer restaurants around town, the Glass Onion uses Celeste Albers' eggs, and like everyone else, they can't stop raving about the rich flavor that comes from those free-range grass-fed hens. "Once you taste them it's hard to go back," says co-owner Sarah O'Kelley, an occasional City Paper contributor. The deviled eggs are a perfectly classic blend of mustard, mayonnaise, and sweet pickle relish made inhouse with local cucumbers. The eggs are finished with a light dusting of paprika. Co-owner Chris Stewart says he wanted to make deviled eggs like his grandmother used to, so he imagined what she might have in her refrigerator. He wound up with the perfect combination. It's as simple as can be, tart and rich, and something fun to order that you don't often find on menus.

New Zealander Burger
$6.10
Sesame Burgers & Beer
4726 Spruill Ave.
North Charleston
(843) 554-4903

Approaching the end of our extensive egg hunt, we started to tire of all things embryonic. But we had to try the classic burger topped with a fried egg. Restaurants like Poe's and Gene's Haufbrau are famous for their eggy burgers, but we headed up to Park Circle for Sesame's unique New Zealander burger. The egg is fried up crispy and thin and then paired with juicy roasted beets, then piled on top of your choice of hamburger, chicken, or black bean — we went with the beef. The sweet beets added a lot to the rather bland burger, though they're definitely an acquired taste. The flavor of the egg struggled to come through over the strong beets. If you like beets, this is your burger. If not, or if you're going for a stronger egg flavor, try somewhere else.


Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Classified Listings

Powered by Foundation   © Copyright 2018, Charleston City Paper   RSS