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Dining

L.A.'s Insanely Popular Eggslut Has Arrived in NYC

Will New Yorkers accept Cali's take on their beloved BEC?
L.A. Cult Favorite Eggslut Lands in NYC
Photo: Nikhil Shah/Tasting Table

How do you get New Yorkers to stand in line? Serve Eggslut sandwiches.  

Instagram-ready diners waited in line early this morning to get the first taste of L.A. cult favorite Eggslut's breakfast sandwiches in NYC. Those sandwiches, which sold out by 9:30 a.m., are on the opening menu of Chefs Club Counter, a new fast-casual spot from the team at Chefs Club that features dishes from chefs around the globe.

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There are two sandwiches to choose from: L.A.'s signature Fairfax, a brioche bun rubbed with Sriracha mayo and stacked with soft scrambled eggs, cheddar and a mound of caramelized onions, as well as a New York exclusive, which Eggslut chef and owner Alvin Cailan has named the Soho Salmon. It places pastrami-spiced smoked salmon, fromage blanc, a sunny-side-up egg, Havarti cheese, pickled mustard seeds and onion between two pieces of warm brioche. Both of these sandwiches will likely be around only for a few months (though the team hasn't finalized that).

On the surface, it's easy to see this as a rare opportunity to try a hugely popular L.A. dish without having to board a plane. But the phenomenon actually taps into something much deeper than culinary armchair tourism.

While outsiders may think of pizza as the official food of NYC, any self-respecting New Yorker knows that the real food of this city is an egg and cheese. For the uninitiated, let me explain: Any neighborhood bodega (aka corner deli) with a flattop will make you an egg and egg or a bacon, egg and cheese, and hand it over wrapped up like a silver bundle for just a couple of bucks. The cheese will almost certainly be American and the eggs a touch overdone. The roll will be kaiser (or possibly a bagel). This is a sandwich that meets you where you are. It's what sustains this city's residents after rough nights and even rougher mornings.

 

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And the general feeling? You don't f*ck with the egg sandwich. New York Times' legendary restaurant critic, Pete Wells, even penned a testament to that effect in 2015 after visiting a restaurant called BEC (the shorthand sometimes used for the sandwich), which serves artisanal versions of the classic.

But Eggslut's Cailan isn't looking to displace the original here. In fact, while cooking a Soho Salmon earlier this week, the breakfast mastermind revealed to me, "I have a bodega sandwich—I'm not lying. [It's] in that bag right there with my Snapple, and I'm going to eat it as soon as we're done."

As a kid, Cailan fell in love with the sandwich at a stall near Wall Street and found it sadly missing from L.A.'s "breakfast void," as he calls it. So he launched a food truck specifically catering to an Angeleno audience, not a New York one. Now that he's here, though, he knows he has only one chance to win over the city. He made 70 variations of the Soho Salmon before settling on the final version, and he even cut a mushroom sandwich from the menu at the last minute.

With this residency, Cailan's also testing the waters for what could be a New York Eggslut location. So is there room in this city for both sandwiches? At least this New Yorker hopes so.

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