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Explain lame New York breakfasts?

As you get further from Manhattan, the bacon gets crispier, the home fries homier...everything from the eggs to the toast gets cooked better. What is it with NYC coffee shops?

It's not like you can't buy a decent plate of eggs or pancakes anywhere in the city, but the basic anthora-cup greasy spoons in our town do a noticeably lousier job than their out-of-town counterparts.

Why is this?

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  1. Perhaps the places in NY are busier so much of it, like the bacon is pre-made or deep fried to cook it. I happen to think NY home fries are the best though. But the eggs at the greasy spoons are terrible.. I was out in Montauk last week and had amazing eggs , actually a fritata , far superior to the average place in the city. In any case, i guess the way around it , is to ask for the bacon well done, or switch it for ham, get the eggs made a particular way, so you get some personalization.

    2 Replies
    1. re: foodwhisperer

      Thanks for the suggestion, but the basic NYC coffee shop breakfast can't be fixed by specifying "extra-crispy bacon", or "I like my scrambled eggs soft.". New Yorkers who try to verbally affect the outcome of their coffee shop breakfast tend to be whiny and unrealistic.

      1. re: knucklesandwich

        When I ask for extra crispy bacon what happens is, "Here's the bacon that's been sitting on the griddle for four hours, burnt to a crisp."

    2. In my experience, most restaurants in NYC are sub-par., but especially the greasy spoons.

      6 Replies
      1. re: danbuter

        What places have you dined at that have disappointed you? I didn't see any Manhattan restaurant posts from you. It would be interesting - and of course valuable - for visitors to know which places to avoid, here in Manhattan.

          1. re: knucklesandwich

            Agree breakfast in the city is abysmal. I love to eat breakfast NOT brunch, which is something I will never do. I have eaten on the upper west side, the east side and in midtown and the home fries are especially terrible. They try to add all this paprika to make it look like the potatoes have been browned. The Red Flame is the worst! That said they are so few real coffee shops left, most are the upscale coffee places with overpriced muffins and pastries, which to me is not breakfast.

            1. re: chervil9

              You go, Chervil. Brunch is a scam. Don't ever fall for it. The problem is that the old diners where you could get a good, cheap breakfast are gone. I never go out for breakfast here; only when I travel out of the city. Your best bet is to get a cup of Joe and a bagel or muffin from a street cart. And they are up early. I like breakfast when I wake up...even on a weekend. Some places you need to wait until 8 until they open. That's breakfast blasphemy in my opinion. Glad someone agrees with the sad state of breakfast in New York.

              1. re: chervil9

                My husband and I had breakfast at The Red Flame last week, and it was great.

                1. re: chervil9

                  The Red Flame was pretty bad the one time I ate there. The food (eggs, toast, coffee) was bland and tasteless, and the service was dismal. What a waste. When we left, we headed across the street to a coffee shop just to get a better cup of coffee, and lamented that we hadn't just gone there instead for a coffee and muffin.

            2. Huh? I am baffled by the post. We eat breakfast out a lot and love the coffee shops/diners. Scotty's in Murray Hill is a favorite since it is so close. 3 Star on the UWS is another. Both are inexpensive and serve great basic breakfast. My lovely wife likes her bacon extra crispy and they know her and keep her happy.
              The only "bad breakfast experience" we've had is Bloom's just up Lex from Scotty's. The hotels in the area send out of towners there and they can get away with "sub-par".
              Where have you been that was bad? You might try requesting the bacon and home fries prepared the way you like them.

              1. Are you talking strictly greasy spoon diners breakfasts?

                If so, I'd say the problem is the quality of diners in Manhattan right now. If you're just talking in general terms, the worst breakfast I've had in NYC has been from Vinegar Hill where the celebrated chef came out and defended the pool of uncooked runny egg pouring out of his "omelette".

                In theory, the farther you get from the farm, the less likely you are to find a fresh tasting breakfast, but the reality is there are no excuses for what some places serve.

                1. I think part of it is that while breakfast is so simple to make, it's easy to screw up. There's an art to cooking eggs. I've also noticed it's hard to find a good low-priced meal for ordinary comfort food in Manhattan no matter what meal you're looking to eat. I had horrible breakfasts at Gramercy Cafe and Little Poland, Ihop was better then that! On the bright side of breakfast, Stage restaurant served up some great kielbasa and eggs.