Warning: What I am about to tell you is not for the faint at heart. For those who prefer lighter brunch fare like fresh fruit and yogurt or scrambled egg whites with sliced tomatoes, you might want to stop reading right now.
Several months ago I went to MJ Armstrong’s for brunch with some friends. I had only brunched there once before, a late Saturday morning stint before an early California Golden Bears football game, but I remembered it being good so we decided to give it a try.
Already set on Eggs Benedict per the usual, I decided to glance at the menu to have an idea of what else they offered. French Toast, Pancakes, Omelettes, Huevos Rancheros and a Breakfast Wrap round out the traditional pub grub brunch menu, but it was the Steak and Eggs that really caught my eye. Nothing about the description was particularly out-of-the-ordinary except the small note in parentheses, “For Eggs Benedict, add $1.50.”
I looked up from the menu at the same time as my brunchmate, who noticed the same thing and shared the same look of disbelief that I must’ve had on my face. We debated excitedly back and forth about the meaning of the note for a good five minutes until the waitress arrived. All could finally be settled.
“So let me get this straight,” I said to her. “I can get both steak and Eggs Benedict for only a buck fifty extra?”
With an uneasy look on her face, she answered “I think so,” which wasn’t quite the confident answer our small group of hungry young men were looking for. For clarification I followed up, “does the steak just replace the Canadian bacon on the Eggs Benedict?”
Now just as perplexed as we were, she decided to go back to the kitchen and check. The big smile on her face as she walked back to the table all but confirmed that we were about to have a brunch fit for kings. And so it was done, Eggs Benedict and Steak, all on one plate.
The Eggs Benedict was good. Although the eggs were slightly overcooked, the rich and creamy hollandaise and grilled Canadian bacon hit the spot. The six ounce strip steak, though nothing you’d order from the likes of Peter Luger, was very satisfying and good enough to keep me coming back. And it has.
MJ Armstrong’s is one of a handful of go-to Sunday brunch spots that I can always rely on to deliver a delicious brunch at an excellent value. And with this economy, I’ll take a steak for a buck and change any day of the week.
329 First Avenue (at 19th St)
New York, NY 10003
Price: $12.95 including any two drinks (+$1.50 for Steak and Eggs Benedict)