Brunch at Shopsin's
Tuesday, March 9, 2010 at 2:00PM
The Lady Who Lunches in Restaurant reviews

Located in a stall within the Essex Street Market stands Shopsin's General Store.  At capacity, this small restaurant can comfortably seat approximately 20 diners; five people at the counter overlooking the kitchen, three two-top tables to the left of the counter stools, and three more two-top tables located just behind the stools.  Hence the name, the space resembles an old-fashioned general store, or, dare I say it, a smaller-scale version of the Cracker Barrel: exposed shelves lined with canned veggies, jars of preserves, old tattered cookbooks and knick-knacks, etc.  I almost felt like I was on the set of a movie.

Ceci and I arrived at Shopsin's promptly at 9:55am, only to find ourselves waiting in a line for seats behind three anxious patrons.  Approximately twenty-minutes later, we were seated at a two-top table located to the left of the counter stools.  Our waiter, decked out in a Metalica t-shirt (circa one of their 1990-something tours), was prompt, knowledgeable about the menu and all of its 500 items (that's right, 500 items), and courteous; a far cry from what I had anticipated after reading all of Shopsin's service-related horror stories. 

Ceci and I decided to split an order of the famous Mac n' Cheese Pancakes, in addition to ordering our own entrees.  I chose the Migas, which is a Tex-Mex play on traditional huevos revueltos (scrambled eggs).  A large salad bowl was piled high with a mound of fresh-out-of-the-fryer tortilla strips.  Hovering Mount Crispy were fluffy scrambled eggs, salsa rojo, avocado, grilled green peppers and onions, and fresh sprigs of cilantro.  I did my best to neatly toss all of the ingredients together before showering my breakfast with house-made hot sauce and a dash of salt and pepper.  Although I was overwhelmed by the massive amount of tortilla strips, I was very pleased, both in flavor and texture, with my Migas. 

Between bites of my eggs, I could not seem to take my eyes off of our order of Mac n' Cheese Pancakes.  Before they arrived in front of me, I had no clue what to expect, and I'm sure that you don't either; so picture this, if you will: as you're hovering over the the skillet waiting for your Bisquick pancakes to brown on one side, you add a dollop of homemade mac n' cheese to the top of the under-cooked side, then flip.  So, what do you get?  A pancake that's half "cake," half crusty, cheesy and salty browned macaroni.  And the best part?  Adding maple syrup to the 'cakes, believe it or not!  Pure, unadulterated genius.      

Ceci and I loved every aspect of our experience at Shopsin's.  From the efficient service to the incredibly delicious and hearty food, Shopsin's ranks high in my book.



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