A Hamburger Today

Hangover Helper: Counter Benedict from Counter Cafe in Austin

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[Photograph: Meredith Bethune]

This retro diner is so tiny that you'll inevitably wait for a table. Standing outside when the temperature exceeds 100 degrees is excruciating with a pounding headache and an empty stomach. The things we're willing to do do for an all-day breakfast menu packed with Texas favorites like breakfast tacos and a pimento cheese sandwich...

But if you can endure the pain, Counter Cafe serves some seriously restorative food. Their Counter Benedict ($11.00) was perhaps the best version of Eggs Benedict I've ever had. Thick slices of Niman Ranch pastrami and two gooey-yolked eggs were perched on a flaky homemade biscuit sliced in half. The pastrami was crisped up in a skillet and slathered in a delightfully lemony and bright hollandaise sauce.

After I had nearly obliterated the entire plate, the waitress timidly slid a large bowl of breakfast potatoes towards me, hoping I wouldn't notice their late arrival. The potatoes were diced small and cooked until straddling the line between slightly burned and well-browned. They had reached that ephemeral point of a crunchy caramelized crust while still staying soft in the middle.

So was the wait worth it? I'd say so. After staying out too late the night before, the Counter Benedict gave me enough strength to conquer the rest of my day.

Counter Cafe

626 North Lamar Boulevard, Austin TX 78703 (map)
512-708-8800
countercafe.com

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