The 9th Street Bistro has a Batman/Bruce Wayne duality. Its bulky dinner menu has everything from Szechuan shrimp to something called the pita burger. But the old Parisian atmosphere, with framed posters of Renaissance art, is built around its other, classier, Sunday personality.
The champagne brunch has only five dishes, all of which are egg-based, including the Grand Marnier French toast. The eggs la nouveau ($12) stands out like the Eiffel Tower. It’s a Bennie cradled in phyllo pastry, baked with a nest of chopped Canadian back bacon, tomatoes, onions and eggs almost as creamy as the hollandaise sauce.
The bistro also has a novel kiwi and cream cheese omelette ($11). Citrusy and milky, it’s strictly for adventurists. Traditionalists may want a more orthodox omelette, either cheese and mushroom or bacon, with a choice of bread. There’s also a feature quiche ($11) and, for steadfast squares, the Mainstream Breakfast ($10), otherwise known as bacon and eggs. If that’s you, at least choose the sublime date bread as your side loaf. Opt to start your brunch with a glass of juice and/or champagne and a fruit skewer drizzled with white chocolate. (9910 109 St., 780-424-7219)
Brunch hours: Sun. from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.; available on Saturdays soon
Barb and Ernie’s makes a theme restaurant of the Feuchter family. Every family milestone since 1975 is listed in the menu, including sinking a houseboat in the Shuswaps. The only thing more dominant than the family’s presence was the phrase on the old marquee, presented for months like a fact rather than a claim: “Best eggs Benedict.”
True or not, the question is: which of the 16 eggs Benedict are their best? Starting at $10.95 for an original, prices increase with each topping, including turkey bacon, bratwurst or crab. It peaks at $18.95 for steak that, disappointingly, is just grilled and served as a side. Regardless, the white-wine hollandaise sauce outshines whatever it dresses.
Along with the countless ways to cook an egg, there are at least 30 more ways to consume them here, including Hungarian style ($14.95), swapping hollandaise for meaty goulash. Barb and Ernie also have their eponymous omelettes too, giving you another factoid about the couple: Barb’s tastes are conservative (bacon, cheese, tomatoes and other home kitchen ingredients, $13.95), while Ernie’s are more flamboyant. He stuffs his eggs with seafood and smothers them in a bold white wine sauce ($16.95). (9906 72 Ave., 780-433-3242)
Breakfast hours: Tues. to Fri. 7 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Sat. 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Sun. 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Egg On Your Face
Diners are supposed to be about excess, about brunches so filling you won’t need dinner. They are places where calorie counters are verboten.
If you really want an epic morning boost, go for the star of the Urban Diner’s menu – the breakfast burger ($13.75). It’s a fluffy onion kaiser stuffed with a fried egg, Black Forest ham, bacon, meatloaf, melted cheddar and a cilantro lime aioli. Really, it’s everything but the kitchen sink faucet.
The meatloaf is thick, with several folds of ham to jack up the sandwich. It’s a sinful meal that becomes just-right comfort food on a Sunday morning.
Of course, no one will blame you if you opt for eggs Benedict. You can choose from the traditional, veggie or smoked salmon options (all $12).
The sauce is the talking point of the salmon Bennie. Instead of hollandaise, the poached egg and fish are draped in a cheddar-based sauce blended with a basil pesto and bits of roasted pepper and spinach. It’s more savoury than hollandaise, and it nicely counterbalances the sweetness of salmon. (12427 102 Ave., 780-488-7274, and 8715 109 St., 780-437-7275)
Brunch hours: Sat. 9 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.; Sun. 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.