At Easy Street, beer is indeed for breakfast.

At Easy Street, beer is indeed for breakfast.

Versus: Cook Me All Night Long

New Wave tastes better than Swamp Rock at Easy Street.

The Place: Easy Street Records, 4559 California Ave. S.W., 938-3279, WEST SEATTLE. Easy Street Records in West Seattle isn’t just one of Rolling Stone‘s top 25 record stores in the country, it’s one of the most popular brunch spots in town. It’s not uncommon to wait 45 minutes for a cramped table on weekends. With hard-core diner items spanning a three-page menu, you’re absolutely going to find something you like, whether the Dolly Parton Big Stack of pancakes, eggs, and bacon or the Beck Omelet filled with faux bacon and veggies. Just about everything has a musical slant to it, but which plates hit the right note? To find out, we pit Easy Street’s best-selling brunch plates against each other.

The Rivals: Swamp Rock vs. New Wave. Don’t be fooled by the cutesy name: the Suzy Q will cut you with a sharp spike of cholesterol. This popular breakfast item ($6.25) comes with three eggs any style, toast, hash browns, and four strips of some of the best bacon you’ll ever eat. We suggest opting for either the Texas toast or English muffin, as you’ll need something to soak up all the grease. This is pretty much your standard hangover breakfast. The hash browns are cooked nicely —crisp on the outside, tender on the inside. Our over-easy eggs were also cooked perfectly, with solid whites and runny yolks. And as busy as this kitchen was, we were quite surprised that nothing on our plate was burnt or undercooked. Our only complaint was that our pat of wrapped butter was set atop our hot toast, which created a melty mess before we even opened it.

New Wave O’s Rancheros ($6.95) gets the award for name-stretching, if nothing else. It really is a plate of traditional huevos rancheros with two eggs, corn tortillas, refried beans, cheese, and all the trimmings. The refried beans are made from scratch every morning before the cafe opens at 7 a.m. The amount of cheese underscores the fresh taste of the beans, but they still deserve a nod for effort. The side of plain old iceberg lettuce, which we assumed was total garnish, was crisp and fresh; the salsa, also homemade, adds some zip. We also went for over-easy eggs instead of the more traditional scrambled; having yolks ooze from the pile of beans and cheese was not only visually appealing, it gave the tortillas something to absorb. Speaking of tortillas, they really flavored this dish, which lacked a bit of seasoning. The sweetness of the corn, along with the heat from the salsa, won us over.

The Champ: This was a split decision. While the Suzy Q is good, it’s definitely not something most sober people would order. Four strips of bacon, three eggs, and toast? Which just happens to pair perfectly with a couple of cold PBRs? Only if you have a bucket of booze swirling around in your stomach. But we’re going to give the winning vote to the New Wave O’s Rancheros for two reasons: 1) It’s good, and 2) a lot of TLC went into making it. We suggest asking for an additional side of salsa and paying the extra $2 for some chorizo to really solidify this dish.

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