Poached Eggs (and anything) at Maialino
Just about anything Nick Anderer does with poached eggs is mind-blowingly delicious. At breakfast, we've had them with peas and Grana Padano (pictured here); these days, the breakfast menu has Eggs Contadino, poached eggs served over a bed of corn, sungolds, and jalapeño; but simply prepared fresh vegetables plus these eggs is a combination we'd go back for whatever the season.
Truffled Egg Toast at 'ino
This is the dish that had me reconsider my bias against truffle oil: the truffled egg toast made at 'ino in Greenwich Village. The soft, runny egg, the crunchy white toast, the tangy fontina chesse, and even the usually evil truffle oil combine to create an open-faced sandwich that is decadently rich and filling. (Asparagus pretends to lighten things up. But not really.)
Insalate Pontormo at Salumeria Rosi
Cesare Casella's signature insalate pontormo shows how to use an egg on a salad to maximum effect; it's a mixed green salad with just enough pancetta to alert you to the presence of a porcine substance, all topped by a soft, scrambled egg to up the richness. If all salads tasted like this, I would be a happy man.
Chorizo, Egg, and Cheese at Eggs Travaganza
This $3 treat from one of my favorite Midtown street carts deserves a place in the pantheon of New York breakfast sandwiches. The chorizo gets a nice crust from the grill, the egg can be over-easy if ordered, and who knew American cheese and chorizo were a marriage made in breakfast sandwich heaven?
Eggs Travaganza: NE Corner of 52nd Street and Park Avenue, New York NY 10022 (map); 917-657-0987
Eggs Rothko at Egg
It's a thick, thick slice of brioche (from Amy's Bread) with an egg cooked in the middle, and all of that's covered in a blanket of melty Grafton cheddar. The delicious cheesey oils meet the already buttered bread so that no bit of brioche is untouched; it's got all the merits of a grilled cheese, plus the added bonus of a runny egg.
Pizza al’ Uovo at Motorino
Little surprise that my favorite breakfast pizzeria comes from one of my favorite pizzerias, period. This isn't just an egg dropped on an ordinary pie; it's essential to the whole creation, when the beautiful pool of gooey cheese pancetta drippings, and fruity, spicy chili oil is completed by runny egg yolks. All cradled by Motorino’s tender, puffy-edged crust. If there's a better way to eat pizza in the morning, I haven't met it.
Just about anything at Shopsin's
Short-order cook extraordinaire, Kenny Shopsin (and Zack, who's doing much of the cooking these days) has a way with eggs, whether scrambled or fried or omelet-ed or anything else. And, of course, has a knack for pairing them with all sorts of crazy things. Fluffy soft-scrambled eggs might show up in the mac-and-cheese pancake sandwich, fried eggs on top of tortillas and beans for Blisters on My Sisters; egg patties on sliders in the Castles... the list goes on, but I've never met an egg at Shopsin's, no matter how bizarre, that I didn't like.
Pastrami and Eggs at Katz's Deli
The machine-sliced pastrami and corned beef turn tough in these omelettes, but get the hand-sliced meat (handsliced deckle meat is the way to go) and you'll end up with a far superior plate of food. A Katz's sandwich is a fine thing indeed, but the pastrami's delicious juices do incredible things to eggs.
Sturgeon and Eggs at Barney Greengrass
The venerable fish shop's own smoked sturgeon with caramelized onions and perfect scrambled eggs—a somewhat ugly plate of food that tastes like heaven. Ask for your eggs to be scrambled soft, and don't forget a toasted bialy (which I love to think of as a Jewish English muffin) on the side.