It's Saturday morning, your head's throbbing from a particularly late night and the only thing edible in your fridge is half a browning avocado. It's time to face the quintessential weekend conundrum: Goldy's or Red Feather? Both spots are staples for downtown dwellers in a stomach-rumbling brunch crunch. And though Red Feather has the headache-easing unlimited mimosa, it's Goldy's that pulls through with the hearty, hollandaisey fare your trembling liver loves.
But judging by the long lines crawling around the building every weekend, that story has been told in umpteen variations. Searching for a different perspective on this perennial favorite, we decided to take a trip to Goldy's on a line-less weekday afternoon—for lunch. Goldy's is open until 2 p.m., Monday through Friday, and has an entire egg-free menu. Cozied up in a ground-floor booth with two steaming mugs of Dawson Taylor coffee and a graveyard of individual creamers littering the table, my lunch date and I prepared ourselves for something new.
Unfortunately, after our cheery waiter had stopped by three times to take our order, we realized that the meat-laden lunch menu just wasn't cutting it. Though the oft-overlooked list is stocked with classics like burgers and club sandwiches, nothing leapt into our arms and cooed, "Eat me." Unable to resist the index finger-curling, eyelash-batting beckoning of the breakfast menu, we decided to return to the timelessly tested—anything with eggs and fluffy piles of rich hollandaise.
My lunch date was quick to suggest the smoked salmon hash ($5.50), a skillet mash of salmon, potatoes, red onions and capers that he's forked down countless times. But seeking the most variation for the littlest wallet and waistline wallop, we decided to go halfsies—splitting a half-order of the veggie benedict ($4.75, with a poached egg), a half order of the salmon benny ($6.25) and a whole mushroom frittata ($8.95). Though none of our selections came with Goldy's heavenly special potatoes, we were pretty sure we wouldn't be leaving hungry.
We would, however, be leaving caffeinated. With a roving gang of carafe-carrying, coffee-topping servers, Goldy's makes sure that no patron ever has to debate the half-empty or half-full cliche. While this degree of service pleases many, make sure to cover your mug if you're a stickler for maintaining the perfect milky/sweet pH balance.
A great thing about eating at this well-oiled breakfast machine in off-peak hours is that the kitchen spits out dishes much faster than usual—and with the same eggs-acting care given to each bulbous fried yolk. Cutting into the veggie benny—a precariously balanced tower that looked like a mushroom plucked fresh from Ferngully's forest—the egg yolk leaked bright yellow streamlets through the crumbling pile of steamed broccoli and asparagus. The salmon benny was a variation on the same theme, with a flaky fillet of salmon, pungent dill and a few innocuous circles of cucumber all tucked under a buttery blanket of hollandaise. No matter how busy it has been on my past visits, the bennys have always arrived uniformly awesome—both hot and perfectly done.
The true stocky starlet of our trip to Goldy's, though, was the wonderfully caloric mushroom frittata. With tendrils of flat spaghetti winding through baked eggs, mushrooms, marjoram and oregano then topped with a rosey, tomato basil and parmesan cream sauce, the frittata got better with each bite. Though my date was unsure of the bountiful, secret-saucey topping, he warmed up quickly to the dish's kitchen pantry assortment of flavors and textures. As we mopped up the last puddles of hollandaise, we began to worry how the ensuing food coma would affect the remainder of our day. We threw back a few preemptive glugs of our near-full coffees and bundled up to brave the cold winds whipping down Capitol Boulevard. Sleepy or not, we were glad we chose from the decadent breakfast menu over the seemingly uninspired lunch menu. Why mess with a good thing?
—Tara Morgan is hollandazed and confused.