It’s almost noon, which means it’s almost closing time at Eggslut, the old food truck turned freshly opened Grand Central Market breakfast concept. Down the sleek black granite counter, chef and co-owner Alvin Cailan, who’s built like an offensive lineman, scrambles eggs in a saucepan with a surgeon’s attention to detail. Cailan looks over his shoulder and perspiration glistens on his temple as he talks to another handsome, tall Asian man with slicked back hair.
“Was the scramble for the steak and eggs?”
“No, it was for the Slut,” the man replies.
Cailan pulls the saucepan off the heat and throws its contents into the garbage. It’s a part of the process: with eggs, as with restaurants in general, timing is everything. The signage on the storefront indicates that Eggslut is “Coming Soon,” but it’s been putting out its egg-centric concoctions in its newfound GCM digs since last week.
The word’s already out, by the way. The scene on a crowded late Tuesday morning is sedate compared to the morning rush, where diners scramble at the break of dawn to take a crack at securing one of Eggslut’s coveted counter seats. They all want to try the steak and eggs, a humbly named special that’s got everyone from Monterey Park to Santa Monica in a tizzy. Cailan dusts a healthy layer of salt and pepper on the skirt steaks, and gives the steak its initial sear. The chef then puts a dollop of butter on top, which he uses to baste the steak before serving it with a side of two organic sunny side up eggs. It’s a labor-intensive process, and despite what seems like a steep price tag of $12, the execution is worth every penny.
The menu also offers an array of egg-based breakfast sandwiches, with selections that include a house-made turkey sausage and egg sandwich that’s served with honey mustard aioli. Other inventive sandwiches include a bacon sammie with chipotle ketchup and the Fairfax, a scrambled egg sandwich with caramelized onions and Sriracha mayo. All of these are served on a house-made brioche bun that’s lightly toasted before serving.
What Eggslut is famous for, however, is the Slut. Clocking in at a comparatively hefty $10 —the sandwiches are all less than $8 — when the dish arrives, the name starts to make sense. Most diners will stare down at the dainty jar (which is reminiscent of a baby food container), pull their head back, crinkle their nose and probably say to themselves, “Wait, I just paid $10 for this sh-t?”
On paper, the dish is a coddled egg poached in a glass jar atop a bed of potato puree, topped with chives and served with three minuscule crostini. But take the plunge, and one really starts to appreciate the experience of the Slut. Breaking the yolk and stirring it into the mixture of potato puree and chives creates a slightly savory jam that’s perfect for spreading on the crostini. Take the first bite and it all makes sense why the Slut is so highly in demand. A slightly salty note of potato puree balances out the clean, understated richness of the egg yolk. Chives lighten up the proceedings, but not by much. This is a rich dish, and the minuscule portion is completely justified. Anything more and it’s too heavy.
Then the scrambled eggs arrive. To paraphrase Chef Gordon Ramsay, a proper scrambled egg is the ultimate test of a chef’s ability to control heat. Overcook them, and they lose the creamy richness that accentuates the taste of yolk. Undercook them, and they’re a runny, inedible mess. It should come as no surprise that Eggslut’s scrambled eggs — prepared by Alvin Cailan — are perfectly cooked. They’re just substantive enough to sustain the taste of rich yolk, while being a tad runny for texture and neatly balanced with a smattering of chive.
Of the drink offerings, a four-dollar orange juice pops out on the menu. Few orange juices that don’t involve equal parts champagne justify such a price tag, but this particular O.J. is a stone cold thirst-killer. Pressed by the nearby Press Brothers Juicery, it’s raw, organic orange juice that’s served unpasteurized in a small, ten ounce bottle. The result is an incredibly clean juice that’s not too sweet but practically bursting with the flavor of freshly squeezed oranges.
Funnily enough, for a restaurant with a rather extreme name, Eggslut embodies a keen attention to detail and fantastic execution when it comes to subtly balancing flavors. So show her to your friends, introduce her to mom and yes, put a ring on it: This slut’s a real keeper.
Follow Euno on Twitter @eunowhat