NEW IN TOWN: Eggshell Bistro

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Depending on which home magazines you subscribe to, the French flea market trappings of Carmel’s darling brunch spot Eggshell Bistro (51 W. City Center Dr., Carmel, 317-660-1616) will give you either a serious case of decorator’s envy … or a petit headache. Larry Hanes, owner of the eatery in its first weeks of business in the brand-new Carmel City Center, has amassed an impressive collection of vintage flair, from the ’50s-era manual Italian espresso machine with a metal grill and wooden knobs to the antique cinnamon grinder at the coffee bar. And it all comes to roost in this sunny corner spot. Diners are seated in vintage blue and yellow metal Tolix chairs, at marble tables topped with Orangina bud vases. Even the banged-up institutional trash can and paper towel dispenser in the ladies room are covetable in a shabby chic kind of way.

None of which, however, should be written off as window dressing. Chef Jeremiah Clark’s menu is as meticulously executed as it is brief. A Chef’s Academy grad who has worked at The French Laundry and Bouchon Bistro as well as Taste Cafe and Marketplace, Clark elevates the brunch standards, all the while concentrating on locally sourced ingredients. His crisp sweet potato hash gets a spicy kick from chorizo and jalapeno, topped (of course) with a pair of delicate poached eggs. He loads a brioche with three Traders Point Creamery cheeses and mixes up an heirloom potato frittata with spinach and Capriole goat cheese. (And though we love the idea of a Chinese herbal tea egg beautifully crackled with the stain of star anise and flecked with fleur de sel, ours arrived heartbreakingly overcooked and gray of yolk. Quel dommage.) Dessert is a rotation of locally churned Lick ice creams. And the coffee comes from San Francisco’s Blue Bottle Coffee, Eggshell being one of just a few restaurants in the country to carry the brand. Apparently, that’s a very big deal.



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Comments

  1. Larry Hanes

    January 17, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Thanks Julia for the review & feedback… I truly appreciate it. I created the individual menu items over the last couple of years based on the way I have cooked for 20 years or so… & the way I prefer to eat (quality over quantity). The menu option range intentionally leans towards a more petite scale, but with the goal of providing a large diversity within its refined options. In general, I’ve never been a fan of venti-sized menus… I would rather do a few things really good, rather that a lot of things in a lame fashion. Simplicity is always on the forefront of my mind during my design, culinary & caffeinary pursuits —hence, for example my Blue Bottle Coffee is served in only one size cup (12 oz. for to go & for the table)… and definitely no syrupy additives, beyond the issue of chemicals & corn syrups, I have nothing to mask. Blue Bottle Coffee is famous for converting the sugar/cream crowd to a more straight-up approach. I will definitely check into our herbal tea egg procedures, to see if there are any needed tweaks that should be applied. Thanks again for the review & feedback. Regards, Larry Hanes / Owner of Eggshell Bistro

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  2. Holly

    January 17, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    My family and I went for breakfast a couple off weeks ago. I thought the food was fresh and innovative. And I like the fact that Eggshell is another restaurant that supports locally grown when possible. My only suggestion – especially since the focus is on breakfast and brunch items – is to add one or two kid-friendly items to the menu. There was only one fruit option, and it included grapefruit, which most kids don’t like. The only option my 5 year old could find was toast – and it was too thick and hard for her to eat.

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