Cunning plan: Spark Adam’s waning interest in this blog by proposing a review series featuring his favorite breakfast item: The Benedict.
Surprising start: Expecting to begin with “benes” at a blantantly obvious venue — such as Bintliff’s — we instead found ourselves on Wharf Street on Saturday — drawn toward the funky brick façade of Havana South. What a marvelous space. A scan of their brunch menu revealed four benedict options. Aha!
Lobster Benedict: with lobster, poached eggs, huitlacoche and a fennel hollandaise over gorditas ($12)
Mexican Benedict: with Mexican chorizo, poached eggs, and enchilada hollandaise over a homemade English muffin ($9)
Veggie Benedict: with marinated tofu, poached eggs, spicy spinach over fried polenta cake with a cilantro hollandaise ($8)
Traditional Benedict: with poached eggs, slab bacon, over homemade English muffins and hollandaise ($8)
Selections: Lobster Benedict for Adam, Mexican Benedict for me.
Enamoured with the accompanying potatoes, it took me a moment to turn my attention to the Mexican Benedict itself. When I did, I found it somewhat tasty – but lacking. Lacking in hollandaise, lacking in balance, lacking in crispy muffin consistency. An overpowering mole and ancho chile sauce was not so much with the benes — but with the cubed taters — and a mere smudge of hollandaise colored the tops of the eggs. Odd. The ground chorizo provided the expected kick but seemed a tad, I don’t know, overstewed. Mexican Benedict score: C
Adam fared better with his Lobster Benedict. The gorditas provided a crunchy corn contrast to the tender lobster meat, which was nicely cooked and very fresh. A sauce of fennel and huitlacoche sparked up the flavor quotient. Also known by its less-elegant nickname “corn smut,” huitlacoche is an infectious corn fungus. Seriously. Latin traditions scrape it right off the husk and use it instead of peppers to add a rich smokiness without the heat. It lent a pleasant, pungent earthiness to the dish. Again, however, the eggs received just a tiny drizzle of hard-to-even detect hollandaise. (Side note: a query of our waitress revealed that more Hollandaise will be provided upon request. Question is — why not provide more in the first place?) Lobster Benedict score: B
While the benes were pretty good, the highlight of the meal was the side — little fried potato nuggets spiced with ancho chile powder, cumin, cinnamon and paprika. Crisp and full of zest, they were a delight. Potato Score: A