I Can Eat 50 Eggs: Elizabeth Street Cafe

 
In honor of Paul Newman and “Cool Hand Luke,” I’ll review 50 days of eggs from 50 different restaurants.
 
Day 9: Elizabeth Street Cafe
1501 S. First St. 291-2881, www.elizabethstreetcafe.com.
Hours: 7 a.m. to “late” Monday-Friday. 8 a.m. to “late” Saturday-Sunday.
 
By Mike Sutter | Fed Man Walking | 01.09.12
 
It wasn’t long after Bouldin Creek Coffeehouse announced it was moving early last year that the other shoe dropped: Larry McGuire and Tom Moorman Jr. of Lamberts and Perla’s would be putting a Vietnamese restaurant in its place. “Just a neighborhoody thing,” McGuire said at the time. But it’s more than that. Elizabeth Street Cafe opened in December as a white and aquamarine French colonial bungalow with an ambitious mission to bake its own bread and pastries, serve breakfast, run a coffeeshop and do lunch and dinner. The breakfast menu is full of egg dishes, from a breakfast banh mi sandwich to steam buns with pork belly and scrambled eggs to eggs baked en cocotte in the French style.
 
Breakfast tapers off at 10:30, and lunch called for a big bowl of Vietnamese soup, one with pork broth, rice noodles, meatballs, pork belly and a soft-boiled egg. I’m reluctant to call it “pho,” because pho is traditionally made with beef broth. And pho usually comes with a more generous side plate of herbs, bean sprouts and jalapeño. And pho doesn’t usually cost $14 a bowl.
 
The coarse little meatballs are angry with salt, and the pork belly is as tender as fall-apart carnitas. In this aromatic swirl of star anise and clove, the egg is more than a protein grenade. It explodes when you cut into it, drawing the soft-solid of the yolk into the soup, coalescing into drops of Congdon Farms gold throughout the bowl. Gold. That must be what makes it $14.
 
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)
 
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