An eatery review – a rare foray in the blog world for me! Allow me the honor of sharing one of Washington DC’s greatest discoveries: Steak ‘n Egg Kitchen.
As we braved the high winds, which disturbed the leaves that still cluttered the pavement down “south,”I heard Emily reassure me: “Emma, don’t worry! I won’t tell anyone you ate here.” But suddenly, Steak ‘n Eggs didn’t look so unacceptable. The tiny brick building, the width of a cobbled town alley, stood proud on the street corner. The waning light of it’s charming sign was far from neon-offensive. We stepped inside, and nearly fell onto the bar. A single row of bar stools was brimming with diners, offering just enough space to line up behind the stools with our backs wedged against the wall, to wait our turn to order and be seated.
Your seat is guaranteed with a “dine-in” order, and the placement of your meal ticket on the cooking line determines your bar stool. Unless you order one after the other, don’t plan to sit next to your friends. “Take-out” must be, well, taken out (but they were lenient on those newcomers who ordered in this fashion, letting them huddle on the windowsill to fill their stomachs in the warmth). Don’t incur the cooks’ wrath by modifying your order!
A small disclaimer: you won’t find high-quality, fresh or artisanally produced food at Steak ‘n Egg Kitchen. No ma’am, no sir. This eatery is strictly white bread, ladles of grease, jam and syrup infused with high-fructose corn syrup, American cheese galore, and likely inhumane animal products and eggs. The ingredients are cheap and highly processed. The final product laid sloppily on your plate, still bubbling with margarine. As one Urban Spoon review said: “Don’t think of the Steak and Egg as food. Think of it as medication to fight down whatever you were drinking earlier.” If I, Emma, can accept this slight fact, so can you. And then you can begin to marvel in the experience!
This is the kind of place Anthony Bourdain would seek out, if he hasn’t yet. This is the kind of place foreign tourists would revel in. The cooks are on fire! Five men bustled their buns at such an unstoppable speed, slinging homefries, waffles, pancakes, milkshakes, steak, bacon and eggs. The kitchen implies it can only serve a fraction of its monumental menu offerings. Don’t be fooled: it’s all available! And quick!
The cooks are also fiery: focused on their task at hand, stressed and dripping with sweat. I find myself imagining…hoping…that each cook, sous chef and bus boy could only stand this insomniac environment because he loves his job. No?
My stack of chocolate-blueberry pancakes arrives, crowned by a golf ball of margarine. I have a small debate in my head with that sunshine globe: “Eat me!” “Take me off!” “Eat me!” “Take me off!”
I eat it. I drench my pancakes in toothache maple syrup, and lather each bite with margarine. I devour every last crumb of my late night dessert, and wipe my mouth proudly. My stomach twinges slightly, but the sugar has already rushed to my brain and I smile woozily, now ready for bed.
I’ll be back, perhaps, in a year.