Breakfast at Bluebird Sky Cafe

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[Photos: Ashley Muir Bruhn]

Walking down Baxter Street in Chinatown, you could all too easily miss Bluebird Sky, a cozy cafe tucked away in a narrow but lovely space—with an exposed brick wall, tin ceilings, penny tile, and marble shelving. But despite its diminutive stature, husband and wife team Dave and Alex Kelly have created a restaurant that stands out among its (dim-sum) neighbors.

Bluebird sky serves only breakfast and lunch, and was full (but not packed) with mid-morning diners when we visited on a recent, particularly cold Saturday.

We started with the Steel Cut Oatmeal and were, unfortunately, disappointed. The price was right—only $3.50—as was the nutty texture, but the oats were overly sweetened with honey and the raisins had a floral aftertaste. The dish had potential: just ask to sweeten it yourself. (Or look for a better NYC oatmeal.)

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The Egg Sandwich ($5.25) was, however, a completely different story: Served on crusty, delicious French bread from Grandaisy Bakery, the soft scrambled eggs can be paired with your choice of ham or bacon; and Fontina, cheddar, or Gruyere. We chose the latter, on both accounts. The thick-cut bacon tasted of smoke and sugar, and the Gruyere melted nicely without disappearing into the mix. I would gladly make room in my morning routine for one on a regular basis.

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There are a handful of egg dishes that round out the menu, including the tomato, avocado, and cheddar omelet ($8.50). A side-salad with a biting vinaigrette came with the small-ish omelet, as well as sides of pico de gallo and sour cream. The eggs were fluffy and well-cooked, and the avocado came in ample slices on top.

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When we ordered at the counter, we noted a stock of bagels from Kossar's ($1.75) and pastries from Margo Patisserie in Williamsburg, but we decided instead to try the special: Brioche French Toast with Bacon ($10). The sweet dish couldn't top the two savory ones, however, and was fairly unremarkable--even a bit on the dry side. The good news? It's served with real maple syrup.

Indeed, quality ingredients are not an issue at Bluebird Sky--even if there are some tweaks to be made. Coffee ($2), for example, comes from Brooklyn Roasting Company and can be ordered in the light or dark roast; and the espresso drinks are made with care from a hand-pulled machine that sits just behind the counter.

Bluebird Sky Cafe is great addition to a constantly changing neighborhood. And though we'll be skewing toward the savory on subsequent visits, we may have to make an exception next time for the nostalgic Peanut butter, banana, and honey sandwich.

Bluebird Sky Cafe

121 Baxter Street, New York NY 10013 (map) 212-966-4646
http://bluebirdskynyc.com/