Breakfast Sandwich Throwdown: Prime Meats vs. Bark
The breakfast sandwich can be a beautiful thing when done right: some type of bread, eggs, and cheese and/or meat if you so desire. I’ve had a lot in my day, from hole-in-the-wall delis to food carts to fancy sit down restaurants. I’ve had them on bagels, croissants, English muffins, biscuits, and rye bread. I’ve had the eggs scrambled, poached, microwaved, and sunny-side up. I’ve had them with cheddar, Swiss, American, and provolone cheese. The only thing I can’t comment on is the meat–not my thing!
If you’re looking for something more creative, if you’re in Manhattan head to Sub No. 7, where they have such concoctions as the General Tso’s Soft Boiled Fried Egg and an egg and cheese sandwich with broccoli and smoked Gouda cheese. The one time I ordered that, however, the egg part was inedible–it had been drenched in salt, in what I can only assume was an unnoticed kitchen accident. I ended up removing the egg part, which is a sad fate for a breakfast sandwich, and everything else was perfect. For a more comprehensive review of Sub No. 7’s breakfast sandwiches, check out Ashley Muir Bruhn’s (of Hither and Thither) post for Serious Eats.
On to the task at hand: Prime Meats vs. Bark. These two restaurant are extremely different: Prime Meats is a fancy-ish sit down affair in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn with an Americana menu and waiters in vests, while Bark is actually a hot dog joint with counter service and communal tables located in Park Slope, Brooklyn. However, they both happen to serve a mean breakfast sandwich.
We’ll start with Prime Meats. The space is beautiful, with dark mahogany walls, exposed brick, tin ceilings, and high windows. The wait on a Saturday morning actually wasn’t as bad as it could have been–at 11:30 am Buttermilk Channel’s wait was an hour and half, while up the street Prime Meats ended up being less than a half hour. Our waiter was slightly clueless–he had no idea what was in the Brunch Punch (I’m still unsure), but I still ordered it and it was yummy. Their Bloody Mary was excellent as well. Unfortunately, the kitchen was out of all the bakery items (like Apricot Danish, Stout Cake, and the Pretzel Braid, which I was looking forward to ordering), except the croissant which our waiter informed us was “not so good”–um, thanks for the honesty I guess?
On to the main event: the breakfast sandwich. Billed simply as Egg & Cheese Sandwich on the menu, you have the choice of having it on a homemade buttermilk biscuit, pullman bread or kaiser roll. Clearly, I got it on a biscuit–duh. It comes with a side salad, so I added a side order of their Herb & Gruyere Cheese Spatzle ($7), which is actually on the lunch menu. The sandwich was pretty darn good: the biscuit was buttery and sturdy and they managed to pile a lot of scrambled eggs on there. The cheese was cheddar I believe and complemented the other components well. The sandwich was actually a lot larger than I expected and at $6.50 it really is a deal in that environment. The spatzle was delicious: plump and tender and gooey with cheese.
Now on to Bark. Bark functions as an excellent, if expensive, hot dog bar, with your choice of meat (pork, all beef, vegetarian) and various delicious combos. The husband and I love hot dogs and we love Bark, even though we always feel as though we are overpaying. On Saturday and Sundays until 3 pm they also have a breakfast menu, which includes various breakfast sandwiches and granola. They serve their sandwiches with a “slow cooked egg on a Bay’s English muffin.”
They start at $3.75 for just the plain egg and you can add bacon ($4.25), sausage ($5), veggie sausage ($5), and Grafton cheddar (add $1). I’ve had it just plain with cheese and with cheese and a veggie sausage. Both were delicious, the egg soft and runny with the English muffin’s nooks and crannies perfect for catching the yolk. The Grafton cheddar is nice and sharp and I thought the veggie sausage was delicious and added a lot to the sandwich (no limp Morning Star sausages here!); I can only assume the actual meats do as well.
In the side department, Bark offers biscuits and gravy, grits with cheese, and hash browns. I can only vouch for the hash browns ($3)–tater tot like creations that were very crispy on the outside and soft and molten on the inside–perfection. I only wished there were more of them.
So in the end, it all comes down to preference of atmosphere: do you want a nice, sit down place where you can also get some cocktails and other dishes, or do you prefer a grab and go type of environment? The choice is yours, but either way you should be pleased with your sandwich.