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Early Girl - 3rd strike

danna Apr 20, 2011 08:38 AM

I ate at Early Girl for the last time on Saturday. I have given the place 3 trys because it gets such good reviews, not only here, but in the food media. Also because we walked by and my husband saw blueberry pancakes on the specials board...he had a craving.

So, at noon sharp they told us the wait would be 30 minutes. It turned out to be 55 minutes. I would never have waited that long if they had been honest about it.

I decided to give EG the chance to shine, so I ordered off the specials board. Sauteed grouper, curried carrot salad, white beans w/ ham. I also got a side order of biscuit.

The biscuit is OK and the jam from Imladris is outstanding.

The grouper was lightly battered before sauteeing, it made it a little greasy. The sauce was boring. I give them credit , it was a fresh piece of fish and not overcooked, if you could overlook the greasy flour exterior. The carrot salad was the same as Wade's in Spartanburg, except w/ some curry powder mixed in. so-so. I know white beans are a comfort food, and maybe bland isn't the worst thing they could be, but they didn't have any interesting flavor, and the bit of ham I tried to eat was so gristle-y I had to spit it out.

Worse, my husband's pancakes were hard and dry. I suspect they had been cooked WELL in advance, and merely heated a bit before plating. Horribly disappointing. The pork sausage he ordered along side was fair, but nowhere near as good as what they serve at Sunny Point.

It's Sunny Point from now on for us.

Also, the City market has started! Husband had some sort of egg-wrap breakfast from the food truck there, it's surprisingly good. A new pie vendor was there, we had strawberry rhubarb, blueberry and pecan. very good. Lamb chops and poussin from...does East Fork sound right? the lady with the adorable junior salesman?...anyhow, her lamb is spectacular.

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    pilches Apr 20, 2011 10:28 AM

    Thanks for you honest review, Danna. I'm relieved to know I'm not alone on EG. We've been there several times and I've never been impressed. I find the food to be mediocre at best.

    6 Replies
    1. re: pilches
      c
      caiogirl Apr 20, 2011 12:11 PM

      I've been one time several years ago for breakfast. I found absolutely nothing special exciting or memorable about the meal. I haven't been back since and have no desire to do so.

      1. re: caiogirl
        danna Apr 20, 2011 01:06 PM

        We both got skunked this weekend, huh? (read your bouchon review)

        I just ate some beautiful baby (practically micro) arugula and lemon curd chevre that I got from the city market, it reminded me that I didn't completely fail at food acquisition this weekend ;-)

        1. re: danna
          c
          caiogirl Apr 20, 2011 04:07 PM

          Danna,
          Your salad sounds amazing, YUM! Lemon Curd Chevre sounds a-mazing. Did you get it at the downtown market in AVL? We deserve a highlight in an otherwise culinary fail of a weekend haha.

          1. re: caiogirl
            danna Apr 21, 2011 05:41 AM

            Yeah, the one on Charlotte St on Sat morning. Spinning Spider makes the chevre. AT $8, it's a little pricey for my liking, but since I am only able to hit the city market once a month or so, I treat myself. The rosemary-fig is awesome as well.

            1. re: danna
              Scirocco Apr 21, 2011 08:01 AM

              are they the ones who make the ginger flavor too? I got some at the S. Asheville market and I had thought the ginger would be too strong, but it was wonderful. I agree, I think $8 is pricey, but I can't help myself. Sorry for continuing off topic, but I get excited about goat cheese!

              1. re: Scirocco
                c
                caiogirl Apr 22, 2011 03:14 PM

                I love the ginger! I have to get it everytime I see it. Mmmmmm

    2. l
      lisarosen Apr 21, 2011 03:03 PM

      Was there yesterday, because my 17 year-old was too hungry to drive to Sunny Point, & totally agree. Cabbage was undersalted, black-eyed peas were crispy in places, & underseasoned. Mashed sweet potatoes were watery.
      Imladris jam is the only thing they've got going.

      1. meatn3 Apr 21, 2011 05:21 PM

        I've tried them for breakfast, lunch and brunch many times since they opened and have never understood the accolades heaped upon them. Every meal has had lackluster service (more than the usual Ashevegas variety), basics gone awol (salt/ pepper/butter/flatware, etc) and at least one major glitch. I just won't waste my money on them any more.

        1. d
          dingey Apr 25, 2011 10:13 AM

          Maybe I've just been lucky, but I've never had a bum meal at Early Girl. Seriously. The only thing I've ever had that I probably wouldn't order again was pimento cheese--I suspect that's one of those things that you have to grow up with to appreciate. It was just okay. Anything else, though, has been uniformly good to delicious.

          The wait can be tedious, but seems to just be one of those Asheville things. I avoid even trying to eat there on the weekends, though, because of the crowds...could it be that things get dicier when they're too busy? I'm not a big breakfast fan, either, so I'm usually going off the lunch menu....

          10 Replies
          1. re: dingey
            z
            Zeisel Apr 25, 2011 04:45 PM

            I agree with you, dingey. We go out for brunch almost every Sunday. We've tried all the local restaurants and Early Girl remains one of our favorites. Dishes that we love there are the omelets (esp. the 3 mushroom omelet--not always on the menu), stone ground grits, home fries, and pumpkin bread.

            I avoid their pancakes--hard and dry (how I'd love to find a place with great pancakes!) and sometimes their bacon is burnt. But their prices are still relatively cheap compared to other places like Over Easy. And while they're not up there with Sunny Point in the variety and quality of their offerings, you can get a very good breakfast for under $8 and walk away satisfied.

            1. re: Zeisel
              Scirocco Apr 25, 2011 05:24 PM

              Zeisel, as a lover of any "Sweet Stuff With Syrup", I feel your pain re: pancakes locally. I know it's a long drive, but we occasionally make the pilgrimage to Joey's in Maggie Valley. VERY old school pancake house and nothing fancy foodwise, but good. Holds a ton of people. It's fun. It's only open 7am - noon and closed Thursdays, just fyi.

              1. re: Scirocco
                danna Apr 25, 2011 05:33 PM

                even longer drive: best pancakes I've seen lately were at Husk in Charleston. I think the place might be a teensy bit overrated right now, but they know how to make a pancake.

                I've had excellent pancakes at Sunny Point, but also some clinkers. as an aside, if you google Self magazine and Gweneth Paltrow, you'll get a pretty nice pancake recipe.

                1. re: danna
                  d
                  dingey Apr 26, 2011 05:51 AM

                  I actually like the pancakes at Clyde's in Waynesville better than Joey's on the other side of the mountain! Joey's definitely has it's own charms, though. ;) I live in that neck of the woods and wind up with limited patience for the wait at Joey's during heavy tourist season.....

                  1. re: dingey
                    m
                    miss piggy Apr 26, 2011 08:10 AM

                    I have to agree with the positive reviews here...I've not had a bad experience at EG, ever. I usually order the sweet potato black bean cakes with Mac and cheese and squash casserole as my sides. The cakes are awesome, the mac is sinfully good, and I love their squash casserole. It's a carb attack, but portions are so plentiful that I always get a to-go box. I've not had bad service there either. That said, we never, ever go on a busy weekend. I wouldn't wait 45 minutes to eat anywhere in town for breakfast or lunch. Sane reason I don't get to Sunny Point very much. :(

                    1. re: dingey
                      Scirocco Apr 26, 2011 08:39 AM

                      hmm, sounds like we need to try Clyde's!! Never been. And ya, we are lucky that we can always go to Joey's during the week, so no wait for us. :) and danna, thanks for the recipe suggestion. I've bookmarked it. will try them this weekend.

                      1. re: Scirocco
                        d
                        dingey Apr 27, 2011 07:52 AM

                        I think Clyde's is a "you love it or you hate it" kind of place. I've seen some online reviews tear it to shreds, and other heaping praise. I'm in the "love" camp. It's old school grandma food, meaning that some things are probably from a giant can (green beans, I am looking in your direction, and still I love you) and then cooked until it falls apart, but at the same time.....it's good. A lot of stuff IS homemade, like the dangerously addictive lemon ice box pie. Their club sandwich isn't made from cold cuts, it's made from leftover ham dinner and roasted turkey and it's fab. You can occasionally land a greasy or dried-out meal, and the strawberry shortcake was some kind of inexplicable cornstarchy psychedelic red goo, but mostly it's damned good and CHEAP! You can get a real shake or malt there, too. I'm a sucker for the untouched exterior, sign, and relatively untouched interior. The people there are super-nice, too.

                2. re: Zeisel
                  l
                  Leepa Apr 26, 2011 06:08 PM

                  Zeisel, have you tried Rise n' Shine's pancakes? They're pretty tasty.

                  1. re: Leepa
                    p
                    pilches Apr 27, 2011 06:42 AM

                    My sister had the blueberry pancakes at Posano and they were delicious. I'm not sure that they're always on the menu, though.

                    1. re: pilches
                      z
                      Zeisel Apr 27, 2011 04:25 PM

                      Thanks everyone for all those pancake recommendations. For a pancaker lover, it's like searching for the Holy Grail. When I was living in Virginia (Falls Church), I came close to it with the Original Pancake House. Their pancakes are memorable--light but with flavor galore--I still dream about their pumpkin and gingerbread pancakes. If I find their equal here, I'll be sure to post it.

              2. d
                DaveN Apr 28, 2011 03:58 AM

                I posted this experience but it was pulled off this board. We gave them one strike and out in December. When the line was too long at Tupelo we went to EB. The wait was 45 minutes but we got on the list. While standing waiting for a table I was watching the cooks in the open kitchen. I saw one drop a spatula on the floor, pick it up, and continue to use it to serve from a pan. Not only was I appalled that this would happen but I was astonished that someone being observed in an open kitchen would think that they could get away with such a move. That was it for us.

                1. c
                  chezdy Apr 28, 2011 05:22 AM

                  Sadly I have to agree that EG is just solidly average - on a good day - Used to be a good place about 8 years ago. Lately it seems they're aiming for the not likely to return tourist traffic.
                  Sunny Point is in another realm altogether. Yum!

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