Versus: Battle of the Eggs Benedict

Typically, breakfast is the most practical meal of the day--just a little fuel and caffeine to make the morning bearable and the rest of the day possible. So when a highly coveted lazy morning rolls around, it's time to up the breakfast ante with smoked meat and lots of butter. Enter Eggs Benedict. This week, Versus pits eggs Benedict from established egg-slingers Glo's and Lowell's against each other.

It's a good sign when a diner devotes, as Glo's does, an entire section of the menu to different varieties of Eggs Benedict. (It's also a good sign that Glo's packs in the breakfast crowds everyday, and has been doing so pretty much since time began.) Classic Eggs Benedict ($10.95, pictured above) is undeniably good, the highlight of the dish being extra thick slices of Canadian bacon--perfect triangles of salty meat bearing the marks of a few well-spent moments on the grill.

Glo's hollandaise sauce is pretty perfect, too--thick and silky, with just the right squeeze of lemon--but there should be more of it. There is enough sauce to cover each English muffin slice, but not enough to run off onto the plate, no extra pools to drag a forkful of hash browns through. And the poached eggs sometimes sport disappointingly firm yolks (possibly because they sit on the counter for a few too many minutes before being finally being delivered to the table).

It's tempting to resent Lowell's for its location -- a restaurant smack in the middle of Pike Place Market that's got three floors of seating, all with killer views of Elliott Bay and the Olympic Mountains. But you can't argue with a good breakfast, especially when you're the sucker dishing out $17.95 for a Northwest Eggs Benedict (pictured below) featuring market-fresh Dungeness crabmeat. (A classic Eggs Benedict runs a tamer $11.95, but how can you resist the Northwest Eggs Benedict? You're in market after all. And there's a ferry right outside the window, crossing the Puget Sound just for you.) Lowell's is generous with the crab meat and generous with the hollandaise, which is a little goopy and gloppy, very lemony, but so damn rich it doesn't really matter. The hash browns are a little pale and mushy, but everything commingles with runny egg yolks into a beautiful, heavy, hollandaise-y mess.

Verdict: Eggs Benedict is a luxury breakfast, and eating at either Glo's or Lowell's requires that you have the luxury of time or money. While both visits yielded good dishes, both were also disappointing. Lowell's Benedict may be technically sub-par, but the great view and good service enables you to overlook a lot. It isn't a decisive winner, but having to wait close to an hour for a lukewarm plate of food makes Glo's the big loser.
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