Cafe Condesa has been a low-key, neighborhood fixture since 2006, when its three partners—Luis Arce Mota, Enrique Jardines, and Emir Dupeyron (the current owner)—opened the tiny space on West 10th Street. The name Condesa is borrowed from a hip district in Mexico City, and much of the menu is inflected with Latin-American flavor as well.
We were welcomed in with a booming "good morning"; there are roughly 20 chairs, with a few seats at the bar—from where one could watch all of the food prep taking place in a studio-apartment-sized galley with induction stoves, toaster ovens, and an espresso machine.
We started with fresh-squeezed orange juice—a generous serving with plenty of pulp—and a cup of coffee. The coffee, which is proudly displayed in the window, had a slightly burnt flavor, but was refilled often.
The room soon filled with the aroma of freshly baked croissants, which were then stacked at the bar. Whether it's warmed in the toaster or fresh out of the oven, the warmed croissant with strawberry jelly ($2.50) would be a nice start to the morning.
French toast ($9, pictured at top) is made from a baguette and served with a side of strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries. Its sugared crust was quite crispy and I worried the small cup of real maple syrup would tip when I struggled to cut through. The bread could be a bit wetter, but it's a wonderful take on a standard. Cinnamon had been added to custard mix that was used for soaking the bread.
Poblano Eggs Benedict ($9.75) is one of the three Mexican-inspired dishes on the menu (along with Huevos Rancheros and Huevos Chorizo). The dish is probably more closely related to Eggs Florentine than Eggs Benedict: the toast is topped with a bed of spinach and a soft white cheese (the kind usually used for frying). Poached eggs are then covered with a very mild chile poblano sauce. On the side sit lightly dressed greens and roasted potatoes.
I'd happily return, perhaps to try the Chorizo or make a ham and egg sandwich on one of the buttery croissants: the menu is small, but just varied enough to keep repeat visits interesting.
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