The Decadence of Eggs Benedict

I’ve eaten eggs benedict twice in my life. The first time was 15 years ago. The second was today.

It was worth the wait.

Back in the year 2000, I flew up to Chicago with my sophomore-year girlfriend to spend more time with her before heading home for the summer. During the trip, I went out to brunch with her family, and they all raved about the eggs benedict at the restaurant (I don’t remember the name, but it looked like a house, and it was near New Trier).

I was 19 at the time, and I had never eaten eggs benedict. I wasn’t even quite sure what it was, but it sounded so decadent. I was raised in a frugal middle-class household, and I had the perception that eggs benedict was for kings and queens.

But with the family’s invitation, I tried the dish…and wow was it delicious. I had never eaten anything like it.

Despite the experience, I continued to perceive the dish as rich and opulent, so I never ordered it again. I can’t really explain why–it just never happened.

Fast forward to a few days ago–over 15 years after my original eggs benedict experience–when I got an e-mail from a friend inviting me to get eggs benedicts with her over Sunday brunch. The invitation intrigued me because it wasn’t a generic brunch invitation–it was specifically for eating eggs benedicts.

IMG_4373Of course I accepted. When I sat down to eat at Brasserie by Niche this morning, my friend revealed that she was somewhat of an eggs benedict connoisseur. She’s traveled all over the world (and St. Louis), and wherever she goes, she tries the dish. She said the second best one she’s had was in Barcelona…but the best was at Brasserie, where we were sitting.

As far as I can tell, she was right (see photo). The dish was worth the 15-year wait. The brioche bread was crispy and light, the ham layered to perfection (not too salty), the eggs fluffy and perfect, and the hollandaise sauce creamy and delicious.

The whole dish was amazing, and I’ll be thinking about it for quite some time. Hopefully I won’t wait 15 years to order it again.

Have you ever had eggs benedict? If so, what’s the best one you’ve ever eaten?