Room for fixin’ at Broken Egg

This high profile location at the corner of Ballantyne Commons and North Community House Road was first occupied by Skillets, until it closed at the end of May. In August, Another Broken Egg picked up the spatula and re-opened the vacant spot.

Some pricing changes and a pep talk to servers may be needed at Another Broken Egg Cafe, a new restaurant in Ballantyne, according to our culinary expert.

Some pricing changes and a pep talk to servers may be needed at Another Broken Egg Cafe, a new restaurant in Ballantyne, according to our culinary expert.

The concept is the same, and it’s open daily for breakfast and lunch. But the interior has been given quite a facelift. Gone are the dozens of roosters and hens that seemed to occupy everywhere you looked. The new look is much cleaner and a bit brighter. There also is a very nice long counter that accommodates about a dozen diners, which is very much appreciated by those in a hurry or dining solo.

The menu is pretty much what you would expect from a breakfast and lunch eatery, and is similar to several other south Charlotte establishments. The majority of the menu is made up of breakfast fare, with a few salads, burgers and sandwiches. If you’re looking for morning-type share-able or mid-morning snack, there are several options: biscuit beignets southern-style with powdered sugar and honey marmalade, gourmet muffins and a monster cinnamon roll. There also is baked brie topped with apples, pecans and raisins sautéed in a Grand Marnier butter sauce, arriving with toasted French bread. The muffins are freshly baked and very tasty.

The egg selections begin with the traditional – two eggs any style, an English muffin and seasoned country potatoes. You can add bacon, sausage, corned beef hash, Andouille sausage or ham for a bit more, or spend another couple of bucks and add a four-ounce flat iron steak. You also can contemplate 10 different omelets, such as the Floridian, which includes cream cheese on the inside topped with garlic sautéed crabmeat, Monterey jack cheese and green onions. The Hey Lucy offers avocado, breakfast chorizo, sautéed onions and green chilies with cheddar jack and sour cream and salsa sides. More traditional is the supreme with sausage, bacon, sautéed onions and mushrooms with cheddar Jack. They are all served with an English muffin and seasoned country potatoes.

If you’re big on eggs Benedict, there are a half-dozen choices to consider – each served on an English muffin and arriving with the country potatoes. Instead of Canadian bacon, Broken Egg offers grilled breakfast ham, a duo of poached eggs, Hollandaise sauce and green onions. Or you can opt for the jumbo lump crab cakes, two poached eggs, Andouille-infused Hollandaise, diced red bell peppers and green onions. And for a salute to bagels and lox, there’s a Benedict with a toasted bagel, whipped cream cheese, smoked salmon, two poached eggs and garnished with diced red onions, capers and green onions.

One more category for egg dishes is the scrambled skillets, and a couple of different ones were enjoyed on different visits. Guests enjoyed Popeye’s Favorite – scrambled eggs, baked bacon, fresh spinach and onions with Monterey Jack. I chose the scramble that includes baked bacon, onions, mushrooms and ham with cheddar Jack. The bottom of the skillet dish was a little watery, though the scramble itself was OK but not outstanding. The English muffins were cold, so the butter just sat on top without melting. For a bit more Southwest flavor, this scrambled has breakfast chorizo, onions, diced tomatoes and green chilies with cheddar Jack, guacamole and salsa with flour tortillas. The country potatoes were good, though I would prefer a choice. From the menu, I get the impression they are obsessed with English muffins and country potatoes, as just about everything comes with them.

And they just aren’t that great.

Specialty brunches include the Cajun potato skillet – potatoes sautéed with eggs, Andouille sausage, crawfish, onions, green bell peppers, roasted garlic and shaved Parmesan. And the southern crabstack – seasoned grit cake and jumbo lump crab cake topped with red bell peppers, green onions and a shrimp and Andouille sausage sauté. Other offerings include a sweet potato pancake – a jumbo cake topped with cinnamon-marmalade-infused syrup, spiced pecans and a dollop of whipped cream. Cinnamon roll French toast, for the sweet-toothed, offers a thick-sliced cinnamon roll grilled with French toast batter, layered with cream cheese icing, Bananas Foster sauce, mixed berries and whipped cream.

Sandwiches include a Reuben supreme – corned beef, Swiss, sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing on grilled rye bread; and a Bella-wich – roasted mushrooms, red peppers, white onions, fresh spinach, feta cheese and roasted garlic aioli. You can keep it veggie or add grilled chicken or shrimp for a few bucks more. Burgers are available and, like the sandwiches, are served on artisan-style rustic bread (all natural, no additives, preservatives or trans-fats) with a pickle and, you guessed it, seasoned country potatoes.

On my initial visit, a weekend morning, my guests and I were early enough that we were able to get a table without a wait. A couple of minutes later, our server greeted us with “I’m sorry you had to wait; they just sat me five tables…” We weren’t waiting long, and I really wasn’t interested in how many tables she had just been given. Was she trying to tell us not to expect great service? One of us asked what was popular on the menu. She mentioned the scrambled specials, omelets and eggs Benedict. Then she said, and I quote “… or you could have something boring like the traditional breakfast.” Little did she know, that was exactly what I was about to order. When my breakfast arrived, I was very surprised by the amount of scrambled egg on the plate. It looked like a single egg portion, not two. It tasted fine; just not two egg’s worth.

On my most recent visit, we arrived to a good crowd. The hostess handed me the electronic pager and told me it would be 20 to 25 minutes. We were pleasantly surprised when someone came around with mini muffins, and then we were seated just 10 minutes after we walked in. I had a positive expectation. Our server came over, introduced herself by name, and took our order for coffee. From that point on the only times she spoke were when taking our order and asking if we needed anything else when she arrived with our order. I said I would like more coffee. No one else had offered before that point, nor did anyone offer after that moment. I also asked for jam for the muffin and received a very nice mini bottle of Dickerson’s Strawberry preserves. Another guest had received a waffle and after our server left, we realized we needed syrup. I have an idea – how about if the server notices the coffee cups are almost empty and simply says, “I’ll be right back with more.” Here’s a thought – how about asking if we want jelly or preserves for the muffins when taking the order, and when you serve a waffle, bring the syrup if you haven’t brought the syrup in advance?

The opportunities that Broken Egg has are primarily with service. The food did arrive within a reasonable time on most visits. However, the wait staff I encountered could be described as somewhat disengaged. They lacked a friendly, smiling disposition and a helpful attitude. Someone strolling through the dining room with a pot of coffee would be delightful at breakfast time. And as for the country potatoes, they are OK, though a bit dry. They are not home fries, like butter grilled potato with pepper and onion; it’s just the bite-sized potato, and they come with virtually everything on the menu, except the salads. As much as I like English muffins, I do like to switch it up, and no one offered me alternatives. Same with the potatoes. A couple of choices would be preferred.

Most importantly, the value is not as good as a couple of other nearby breakfast eateries. Prices are about a buck or more higher. I just didn’t feel I got $40 worth (plus tip) for three breakfast plates and two coffees. Friendly, more attentive service would have helped that feeling. I really hope they improve the level of service overall, and either lower the prices or increase the value; consider adding a small garnish of fresh fruit instead of an orange slice. An orange slice – really? With a half-dozen breakfast places all nearby, it’s going to take more to keep us coming back.

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