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Sep 29, 2007 09:07 AM

beacon hill bistro breakfast

We went to the BHHB for breakfast this morning, and had a very frustrating experience. Loved the space, gorgeous morning to be in BH, but the food and service, at least at breakfast, don't do justice to the place.

Things started off fine. Coffee, cream as requested, extra time to look over the menu. Our server came, took orders without writing them down, placed them. After a longish but not ridiculous wait, a runner dropped our plates in front of us and left. My husband's waffle had a few strawberries for the seasonal berries, no butter or syrup in sight. I had ordered the crispy chicken hash, and sat looking at a plate of bacon and eggs. Dry toast, no butter in sight. After a while we were finally able to flag down our server, who seemed pretty skeptical at first that my order was wrong, went to the kitchen and after quite a while she returned and apologized for putting in the wrong order. Okay, apology accepted, we're all human, but now the waffle is cold, finally have some syrup, eventually get my "crispy" chicken hash, which was really just some slices of chicken tossed with peppers and onions. Certainly not hash-like, and definitely nothing crispy about it. Very good scrambled eggs, though.

We tend to eat breakfast fairly early, usually before nine, and love to head into the city. We're having a hard time finding decent breakfast at that time. Charlie's always seems to have a long line even at that hour, so we haven't braved that. Anyone have any tried and true places with comfortable atmosphere that serve around 8? We also love greasy spoons, but sometimes want something with a little more atmosphere, and like to have a variety of places to go. Are we just out of luck eating that early?

Also, why don't servers who have difficulty memorizing orders write them down?

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    1. Please keep responses here on-topic by discussing other places that the original poster might go. General service issues can be discussed on the Not About Food board.

      Thank you.

      1. I feel like at this point, BHB is what it is. The service is almost painful in its European authenticity; many of the servers have been there for years, and spend much of their time vacillating between apathetic and aggressively aloof.

        Having said that, I've actually had generally good luck with the breakfast fare here. I'm a carbs-for-breakfast guy, my wife leans toward egg dishes, and BHB is one of the few places we tend to agree on that does a good job with both. I do prefer either their pancakes or their homemade granola to the waffle, but the fruit topping for the waffle has tended to be pretty substantial in size when I've ordered it. Also a huge plus for me is their outstanding dark roast coffee, some of my favorite in the city. As I tend to shy away from savories at breakfast, I've never tried the chicken hash.

        I should also say that it has admittedly been about half a year since we've been there (more of a cold weather place somehow...), so it may have lapsed in quality during that time.

        As for other places you might try for an early-ish breakfast, since I remember you posted favorably about Sound Bites before, it looks like you're specifically asking about Boston, so...

        I've been quite taken with the breakfast at Eastern Standard, who starts serving breakfast at 7. Again, the egg dishes make my wife happy, and I'm smitten by both their oatmeal and their granola. Nice patio in the good weather too.

        Around the corner from BHB is the Spotted Apron. I don't believe they do full breakfasts, and not everything is exceptional, but the good stuff is *really* good, notably the pain aux raisins (I liked it so much I wrote a specific post on just the one pastry) and the quiche of the day (probably my favorite quiche crust I've found in the city).

        Also on Beacon Hill is the Paramount, a greasy spoon turned faux greasy spoon. I've never been there, but it certainly has a cult following, and their website says they open at 8 on weekends.

        1. Trident Bookseller cafe on Newbury, near Mass Ave opens at 9 am and does seem to fit your description.

          Steve's on Newbury at Hereford opens at 7:30 if my memory is on track.

          1. I too was disappointed with the chicken hash at BHB. As you said, it was much more of a chicken stirfry with some potatoes...not at all what I was expecting. My husband had their frittata which used the same exact stir-fried peppers and onions as the hash. The table next to us ordered the pancakes and they looked and smelled delicious and those diners raved about them.

            We loved the atmosphere and the coffee was quite good. We are definitely willing to give it another shot for breakfast.

            Beacon Hill Bistro
            25 Charles St, Boston, MA 02114