It’s a matter of fact that the good residents of New York have little reason to order an Egg McMuffin. Why consume a bland industrial product when countless diners, delis, street carts, and bodegas execute the dish more expertly in the form of a BEC — a bacon, egg, and cheese on a roll. What the city doesn’t have enough of, however, are sweet breakfast sandwiches. New York, with apologies, doesn’t have enough McGriddles.
There are exceptions. Enter baker Jim Lahey’s Hell’s Kitchen location of Sullivan St Bakery, which recently reopened after a year-long renovation, transforming from a simple storefront into a more spacious all-day cafe. Behind the glass pastry case lies all sorts of wonders: cream-filled bomboloni, tan olive oil cakes, rolls stuffed with Gorgonzola and sweet onion, and little egg sandwiches.
Egg sandwiches don’t typically sit behind the counter. They’re normally made hot and on the spot by a grill cook who calls you boss — even if you’ve never been anyone’s boss, ever.
No one calls you boss at Sullivan St. The eggs prepared in advance and served cold. Lahey boils them for nearly seven minutes then mills them with Arbequina olive oil and Chilean sea salt, a process that yields the type of preternaturally soft scramble one expects at a fancypants French spot right before the waiter starts shaving truffles.
There are no truffles here. There’s not even cheese; eggs this rich need no fromage. Instead the kitchen anoints the eggs with a few slices of crisped prosciutto. The serving vehicle — and this is where things get exciting — is a fist-sized brioche roll. While all the crispy, creamy contents of the sandwich slither around in your mouth (what an image!) a wallop of floral sweetness kicks into gear, reigning in the sodium. What are secret ingredients in the roll? Lemon oil and fresh vanilla. A pedestrian McGriddle this is not!
Note that the $5 grab-and-go sandwich, only available during breakfast hours, is more of a snack-sized affair, rather than the typical gut buster that a BEC can be. That means more stomach space for Sullivan St’s other fine pastries, including the spectacular canotto salato, mascarpone-filled brioche that’s been topped with prosciutto and ham and baked. It’s another sweet-salty-savory job, and it’s sold throughout the day.
I’m rating the cold egg sandwich at Sullivan Street a BUY, and I’m sending a siren call to all the breakfast chefs around town: Consider adding more dessert elements to your BECs!!!
Buy, Sell, Hold is a column from Eater New York’s chief critic Ryan Sutton where he looks at a single dish or item and decides whether you should you buy it, sell it (or just don’t try it at all), or hold (give it some time before trying).