Brunch Report - AGORA TAVERNA

>> Monday, December 10, 2012

Brunch Report
70-09 Austin Street
Forest Hills, NY 11375
(718) 793-7900

If any restaurant in Forest Hills looks like it should serve brunch, Agora Taverna is it. Bright white walls and tons of windows allow sunlight to pour in, a necessity for a decent brunch. So it's with a sigh that I wasn't impressed with my brunch here this past Sunday.

This past Sunday around one-ish, Elbie and I showed up and, despite being rather crowded, there was no wait for a table. We sat by the window - great for people-watching - and a plate of warm mini-blueberry muffins appeared in front of us. It was a nice start and we enjoyed them as we sipped our coffees while deciding what we wanted. Agora Taverna's brunch comes with a coffee (or tea) and a brunch cocktail (or juice) as part if its $14 fixed price.

The brunch menu is a fairly standard one (which I like): steak and eggs, french toast, crepes, omelets, mimosas... Elbie ordered the Classic Benedict, an eggs Benedict: poached eggs on an English muffin with Canadian bacon and Hollandaise sauce. She was offered an option of sides: a small side salad, home fries, or lemon potatoes. She chose the lemon potatoes. I ordered the French Toast. Agora uses "healthy" seven-grain bread and tops it with strawberries and blueberries and vanilla honey.

Neither of our extremely typical brunch choices were bad. But both are in serious need of improvement. The eggs Benedict, for starters, didn't come with Canadian bacon, just slices of ham. Not a huge deal, but still. And it was literally swimming in Hollandaise sauce. Swimming in it like soup. On the plus side, the Hollandaise sauce was good and not super tart as though made by a chef who went berserk with the lemon juice. But, speaking of lemon, the lemon potatoes are a little much. Though when I say a little much, I mean you get what looks like two whole boiled potatoes. At least make the pieces smaller. Next time, the salad.

The French toast was made fine but I'll never understand why anyone thinks that using seven-grain bread is healthy after dumping sugar and syrup over it. Agora should shitcan the healthy crap and go straight for taste. Lose the seven-grain and choose challah. But truth is, the real issue wasn't their bread choice. It was the vanilla honey. Apparently, vanilla honey tastes identical to fake-o Log Cabin maple-flavored pancake topping. Unless, and I know that this can't be the case, they actually just gave me fake maple syrup instead. But no. Probably the honey went bad. Yup. That's gotta be it.

On the whole, the experience was a pleasant one. Our waitress was super nice and the setting is spot-on. The coffee was good and I liked my Bellini. The food could have been perfect if only they didn't turn turn eggs benedict into a hollandaise stew, didn't use whole grain bread, and - and this is important - kept the menu descriptions accurate. It's sort of a let down when you're hoping for one thing and get Log Cabin.



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