What is eggs Benedict?
12TH STREET BAR AND GRILL
In the late-eighties, early nineties days of Park Slope, when the neighborhood was said to end at 9th Street -- now real-estate agents claim that the southern border is past Green-Wood Cemetery -- the 12th Street Bar and Grill was Aunt Sonia's, serving eclectic American food so highly prized that just before the restaurant was sold to Two Boots and numerically renamed, regulars kept the news a secret to avoid an eat-there-before-they-close crowd. Overall, the 12th Street Bar and Grill now serves good dinners and passable lunches, without trying for any distinction.
The $8.95 eggs Benedict comes with fresh-squeezed orange juice, bread, and tea or coffee. The coffee is good, but the bread is always served late, either long after ordering or upon reminding the waiter when she brings the main dish. Your juice (small but tasty) may also be forgotten. $5.50 mimosas are served quickly and have lots of champagne, but use pulpless carton juice instead of the fresh stuff. Bloody Marys are weaker, but wonderfully spicy.
The eggs Benedict is served on thick grilled Tuscan bread, quite good in itself but hard to cut. Prosciutto is used instead of Canadian bacon, but sometimes 12th Street slices it thickly, and cooks it till stringy. On one visit, sawing through both the leathery prosciutto and tough bread, I bent my fork. The basic hollandaise is served skimpily; the kitchen prefers to show off its eggs Florentine red-pepper hollandaise or its "salmon Benedict"'s dill-spiked hollandaise. Eggs are often over- or underpoached. The home fries -- chunks of potatoes laced with onions and green and red peppers -- are good. A side order of richly flavored, highly cured bacon is excellent.
Another brunch dish is "Sunday Eggs," scrambled eggs with disappointingly little goat cheese and salmon, sprinkled with chopped chives. We ordered this once when we actually wanted another entrée that was served on a bagel, but we were told that this New York restaurant was, incredibly, out of bagels.
12th Street Bar and Grill's eggs Benedict looks interesting on the menu, but a restaurant that doesn't really experiment with the rest of its menu shouldn't be experimenting with this dish. Service is also often off kilter, maybe from the distraction of also serving the connected bar around the corner. The restaurant's central room is a dignified place to dine, but from the hostess trying to seat you near the kitchen when there are plenty of better tables, to the begging for the check, the waitstaff distracts you from the food itself. Desserts can be great -- a warm chococlate pudding with a scoop of hazelnut ice cream is my current favorite.
Rest rooms: Cramped, and accessed through a dark closetlike space.
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12th Street Bar and Grill