The competition for breakfast dollars just ratcheted up at the Village at Camp Bowie (6115 Camp Bowie Blvd.). The venerable Lunch Box (Ste. 236, 817-738-2181) recently started a small but solid and affordable breakfast service, and newcomer The Egg & I Restaurant (Ste. 280, 817-731-3447) just unleashed its vast egg-centric manifesto.
I have always been more of a brunch person than a traditional breakfast eater. The biggest difference between the two meals is that eggs just taste better after I’ve slept past 10 a.m. Breakfast is usually so plain and functional, just fuel to make sure you don’t pass out before lunch. Brunch, on the other hand, is a frivolous, often decadent affair that comes with champagne, Hollandaise sauce, and decorative fruit. Both of Camp Bowie’s new morning spots have enough variety and panache to satisfy both breakfast purists and brunch enthusiasts.
The Lunch Box has always had a ladies-who-lunch kind of vibe, with bright yellow and green color splashes throughout the room and a menu of cucumber sandwiches, chicken salad, and all manner of dainty treats. The next time it runs out of chamomile tea will be the first. But don’t hold that against the place. The food is always good and reasonably priced. I felt the same way about the Box’s breakfast offerings. With two or three exceptions, everything on the small menu is $5 or $6, the portions are generous, and the execution on my recent visit was spot-on.
My only real litmus test for a breakfast spot is how its kitchen cooks a traditional scramble. Eggs are meant to be creamy and rich, not the charred sacrificial virgins pulled out of an active volcano you get at most places. If there was such a thing as an egg cooked “medium,” that’s what I’d prefer.
The first time I visited The Lunch Box to start my day, I went for the cheddar cheese-mushroom-and-onion scramble ($5 for two fillings, $1 for each additional) served with crunchy hash browns. I’m happy to report the kitchen did the dish justice. It was a no-frills effort, and nicely cooked. On my next visit, I eschewed eggs altogether and ordered the generously portioned Belgian waffle ($5), topped with fresh fruit and, of course, maple syrup. The single giant buttermilk bad boy was airy and prepared to a perfect crisp. Like the eggs, it was a solid, filling offering.
The Egg & I Restaurant has more of an upscale IHOP feel, with wooden booths, coffee served in a thermos, and Ace Mart carafes of water left on the table. The Colorado-based chain’s vast menu is chock full of breakfast fare, a few salads and sandwiches for lunch, and enough egg puns to send me into an eggsistential crisis.
The kitchen apparently got my memo on how to prepare eggs. The spinach-bacon-and-mushroom omelet ($9.49), topped with Swiss cheese and a creamy hollandaise sauce (our adorable, prompt server pronounced it “holiday”), was beautifully silken and rich. Had my guest’s Belgian Waffle Eggspress ($8.59) been a tad crispier, I might have forgiven the pun. It was still delicious, if flimsy and a bit standard-issue. We split the fluffy, spicy biscuits and sausage gravy ($3.99).
If I had one complaint about the place, it’s the price. Two entrées, one side, a cup of coffee ($2.49), and tip totaled $30.
But if you’re willing to pay a little more, The Egg & I does offer a few more bells and whistles than its neighbor –– though I found the egg puns a little eggshausting.
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