Location: 110, 222 – 5 Avenue SW
I vaguely remembering seeing OEB from when it used to be next to Diner Deluxe on Edmonton trail. I remember both breakfast places didn’t take reservations so the line ups were ridiculously long. This morning I took the express bus from my community in preparation for my upcoming practicum and met Valerie downtown for breakfast here.
As per usual, I looked at the menu weeks before to finalize what I wanted. Val had come here before with a friend and knew exactly what it was she wanted: Tuna Crudo. The Tuna Crudo is an item under boxed, which is to say, a self-contained bowl having everything in it (or I guess could be boxed up easily and taken on the go). It consists of ahi tuna, avocado, sesame, pomme Gaufrette, cilantro crema, and two poached eggs. Having had it before, she knew how heavy the potatoes could get and ordered it with half spinach, half potato (I think she did that the last time, or a 2/3 spinach, 1/3 potato). After much deliberating, I finally settled on the Water Fowl Eggs Benny with a side poutine. The Benny consisted of smoked Peking duck breast, porcini mushroom-truffle ragu atop an English muffin and a brown butter Hollandaise. Seeing as they allow the option of ordering a whole avocado as an extra and they charged $3.85 for one (I saw them for $1.85, same brand at Safeway and thought it was expensive), I expected a small poutine even though I was adding $4.95 for that substitution. I was pleasantly surprised when it came out and was actually a decent size. Val’s Tuna Crudo reminded me very much of a Westernized, breakfastized interpretation of a poke bowl and now thinking about it, having raw fish for breakfast is a little weird (not unheard of or frowned upon in any way, just seems more like a lunch or dinner thing, but then again I’m the kind of person who has steak for breakfast, so who am I to judge). Also, Asian seasoned Tuna with fries…bit of a strange combo. Despite my apprehension, it was a delicious dish and while I probably wouldn’t be able to eat it on my own (too much raw fish), I wouldn’t be opposed to ordering it again and sharing it with someone.
The same can be said about the Water Fowl Egg Benny and poutine. As I mentioned, the poutine was an additional add on and while expensive and huge, it had a rich heartiness to it, a richness that would prove too much as the meal progressed. Combined with the creaminess of the egg yolk and Hollandaise, I was full for hours. The preparation of the duck threw me off though. When I saw “Peking,” my first thought was of the Peking duck style of preparation with a crispy (rendered) skin and juicy, rich, tender meat. This was not that. As described on the menu, it was smoked. Like a ham. It even had the criss-cut lines that were reminiscent of ham. Even the texture of the meat had me questioning whether it was duck or ham that they had in fact given me. The Hollandaise was a lot lighter than some of the Hollandaises I’ve had in the past. It’s still thick enough to mop up with the English muffin, but not so thick that it made me feel bloated while eating it.
The potatoes in the poutine were seasoned like the potatoes in Val’s Crudo. Like many of the things in this meal, it was delicious, but with time became unbearably salty. The cheese curds, which I assume are the Saint Cyrille curds they use in other dishes are no squeaky Quebec cheese curds. They’re delicious enough, but I want to find a place here that offers those squeaky curds that seem so hard to come by.
Something I learned going out to breakfast places: soft vs medium vs hard for egg temperatures. I had always thought that soft was a runny, golden yolk with a firm albumin, medium a slightly firm around the edge with a still runny, creamy yolk with a firm albumin, and hard as a both firm yolk and albumin. But apparently, soft means that the albumin is still slightly runny and that’s not what I want. However, sometimes I find when I order medium I get what I thought was a medium and other times I get what I thought was a soft. So now I’m really confused and am not sure how to order eggs…
While there wasn’t a line up when we arrived, they were certainly running out of seats, so we ended up sitting at the bar facing the interior of the building it was located in (fifth avenue place). I liked that at the bar the was a bar for me to rest my feet (because those chairs are tall and frankly, I’m pretty short) and a ledge to put my bag on.
Overall, I’d say I would come again. While the food itself is a little heavier than what I like for breakfast, it is still some of the most delicious food I’ve had. Next time I hope to go early enough to get a table. Based on my experience, I’d rate this a 4.25/5.