109 North 3rd St (new location)
City: Brooklyn, NY
Phone: (718) 302-5151
Site: Visit the restaurant site
2nd Cuisine: Coffee Shops
Payment: Cash only
Once you're seated at Egg, the toughest aspects of your meal there are behind you. But first you've got to find the place. It's not exactly hidden--actually it's just steps from Bedford Avenue, Williamsburg's main drag--but there's no sign to mark it, as at noon the space converts to another restaurant with another menu and name (Sparky's).
I made the mistake of heading to Egg without carrying its address. I'd passed it before and figured it wouldn't be too hard to re-find. But I was misremembering the street it's on, and other pedestrians were less helpful than I'd hoped ("I've lived here 10 years, and I've never heard of it," said one). Finally I found a young woman who said she was pretty sure it was on the next block, which it was. Then there's the noon issue. Egg serves breakfast only, and until noon only. This means you've got to get there on time, of course, but also that you're competing with others for not only a table but a time slot. I imagine that weekdays are less active--but though the line when I arrived on a Saturday was manageable, by the time I left, at about 11:30, it looked daunting. Get there on the early side if you can. I loved the 1920s blues music and the clear jugs on the tables holding simple flower arrangements. And the menu (more basic during the week, fancied up a bit for the weekend) looked great--offering, actually, lots more than eggs.
Most of what's here is organic and locally grown. The eggs, if you choose them, are "laid by free-roaming hens." I got the oatmeal with dried fruit, almonds, and brown sugar. It was hearty and very good, but it was also quite sweet. If this doesn't appeal to you, it might be best to ask for your sugar on the side. The coffee--"press-brewed and sustainably grown"--was $2, but it was delicious, and a serving was enough for two full cups. As I was alone on my visit and thus not sampling lots of dishes, I asked the guys at the table next to me for input. One had had grits and eggs, the other an egg, vegetarian sausage, and warm applesauce (though Egg does serve meat, I didn't see too many people having it--perhaps the liberal and artistic bents of the neighborhood lend themselves also to vegetarianism?). "I come here about three times a week," one of the guys said. "This place is amazing. Even if your hopes are high, it's consistently fresher and better than you expect." On the weekend menu, the broiled organic tomatoes and the carmelized grapefruit with mint looked like sidedishes I'd like to try in the future. And, happily, I can afford to have a future here: The weekend entrees topped out at $7.50, the weekday offerings at $5. After settling up, I walked to the counter to chat with a staff member and get some background info on the place--but that was not going to happen. All tables were packed, the line was snaking out the door, and it just wasn't a good time for employees to talk. "Be with you in a sec," said one--but when, five minutes later, she was still rushing around, I headed out.
I very much look forward to returning on a weekday. And I'd love to visit again on a weekend, too--the earlier in the day, the better. All in all, the place--with its artistic touches, its neighborhood feel, its environmental/ecological concerns, and even its insidery lack of signage--seems to me a good example of what's best about Williamsburg right now.
Review By: Pamel Grossman; February 13, 2006