Diner's Journal by Eric Asimov
New York Times, Friday, Oct. 14, 2005
(This story appeared in the New York Times about one of the many restaurants that Newsom's County Hams is privileged to list among its clientele. Our hats off to George Weld and Egg.)
The pancakes are eggy, yet so feathery light that they are seemingly gone before you've begun to eat. The maple syrup is so richly flavored you can practically see the steam rising from a sugar shack in the snowy woods. The grits, from Anson Mills in South Carolina, are imbued with the taste of corn, and the country ham, from Col. Bill Newsom in Princeton, Ky.ówell, let me just say that this dark and ruddy ham, served in thin slices that almost crumble at the touch, is so profound that you want to pause in midbite and thank the gods for putting this meal in front of you.
At Egg, a sliver of an operation in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, somebody loves breakfast. That is clear, and it's just as clear that it's an outside job. New Yorkers don't love breakfast. They barely tolerate it, except when it's called brunch. Then they stand in the rain for an hour waiting to eat somebody's poor excuse for eggs Benedict. But breakfast? That's what you drink on the subway, or buy from a cart on the way to the office.
Sure enough, George Weld, the proprietor of Egg, is from the South. He grew up in Virginia and the Carolinas, the heart of American breakfast country,where his father was a traveling minister. His big reward as a child was pancakes for dinner.
Having resettled in New York, Mr. Weld, now 33, was livmg a typical Williamsburg life, working at a dotcom, trying to write a novel. He became friendly with Brian and Melissa Benavidez, who coincidentally owned Sparky's All-American Food,
an all-natural hot dog and hamburger joint in a narrow space that looks like an old garage, with a concrete floor and flea-market furnishings. Sparky's was open for lunch and dinner. Mornings were considered dead time, naturally.
With the Benavidezes, Mr. Weld hatched a plan. Each morning Sparky's would become Egg, serving breakfast until noon, at which time the space would revert to Sparky's.
Mr. Weld's pancakes are indeed a reward, but there is more. Like scrambled eggs, a dish that is so woefully undervalued in New York that the typical fried-to-shoe-leather texture is not just accepted, it's preferred. That's why people pour ketchup on eggs. At Egg, if you ask for eggs scrambled soft, you receive eggs with pillowy curds so light that they rival the pancakes for airiness.
Or consider the country-ham biscuit, a fat buttermilk biscuit layered wlth that wondrous ham, sweet fig jam and Grafton cheddar from Vermont. Try this, and it becomes impossible to settle for one of those fastfood egg-and-muffin combos again unless, of course, you enjoy standing in the rain for brunch and drinking bad coffee through a bitten-through plastic top.
Egg, 135 North Fifth Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, (718) 302-5151. Breakfast, 7 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to noon Saturday and Sunday. Breakfast, $5 to $7; sides $1.50 to $3. Cash only.
The Egg has moved to 109 N. 3rd St., between Berry and Wythe in Brooklyn ... 2014