Breakfast »

Where to go for the first meal of the day.

Mile End Manhattan's Breakfast is Worth a Detour

[Photographs: Robyn Lee]

Editor's Note: Our man Ed Levine is seriously into his Citibike trips and is hitting the road in search of good eating. Where will he end up? The first stop on his adventures: Mile End.

Heading down Bowery on my Citibike yesterday morning, I was on the lookout for a food adventure that could be completed in 45 minutes (that's how long you get the bike for before some seriously high overtime charges kick in). I thought about Lafayette, but I couldn't think of a way to secure the bike while I ordered. At Bond Street I noticed Mile End, and somewhere in the creases of my ever-so-slowly deteriorating brain I remembered that they were offering some interesting breakfast options.

So I hung a left on Bond, parked my bike in front of the Mile End storefront so that it would never be out of my sight, and ordered four things I thought would travel reasonably well on the Citibike to SEHQ. The food wasn't just interesting; it was good enough to warrant another visit the next time I'm biking nearby.

There was a lot of discussion in the office about the Smoked Meat Hash ($12): cubes of Mile End smoked meat, tons of onions, and a few cubes of potatoes, topped by a fried egg. Some people said it shouldn't be called a hash unless it had that Dinty Moore minced meat consistency and texture. I failed to be swayed by their argument. This was damn fine breakfast hash. Even the slighly oversmoked meat didn't detract from its overall deliciousness. Was it my paradigmatic hash? No, that needs to be super-crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, like good pizza crust, but all the components of this dish worked well together.

Even better was the Egg Salad sandwich ($8) with crispy shallots on a toasted bialy: A simple but wonderful sandwich flawlessly executed. Note to serious eaters: you do have to like chunky egg salad, not the creamy yellow stuff overflowing with mayo.

The self-titled Breakfast Sandwich ($9) had thick pork bacon, a fried egg, and sharp cheddar cheese, definitely not kosher, and it would have been a fine breakfast sandwich specimen if they had toasted the rye bread it came on. Using untoasted rye bread on a breakfast sandwich constitutes breakfast sandwich blasphemy in my book.

The Ruth Wilensky sandwich ($9), beef bologna and an egg on a pressed onion roll would have been stupendous if the bologna hadn't been declared too salty even by the salt-loving crew at Serious Eats.

So now we know that the Mile End on Bond Street does breakfast and lunch that's definitely worth a Citibike detour. The new dinner menu there, complete with waiter service, looks quite ambitious and promising, but it will have to wait until I am not on a Citibike.

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