The humble breakfast sandwich is no longer the purview of fast food joints. Now chefs are creating gourmet versions that eschew rubbery eggs and limp rolls for high-quality ingredients in creative presentations. Whether these sandos arrive on an English muffin or a biscuit or in a tortilla or a pita, they are guaranteed to give you a sunny disposition. In honor of Better Breakfast Month, here are a dozen blue ribbon breakfast sandwiches to kick start your day.
Boqueria-Soho, New York, New York
You’ll sound super fancy when you order the bocata de huevos, but you’re really just asking for the egg sandwich. This Spanish-styled startup sammie is far from ordinary, however. It comes with a fried egg, tangy mahón cheese, pickled red onions, cilantro, peppery pimentón aioli, and your choice of avocado or housemade pork sausage.
Zengo, Washington, D.C.
When Sir Mix-a-Lot rapped, “My anaconda don’t want none/Unless you’ve got buns, hon,” he was clearly voicing his preference for breakfast sandwiches served on steamed buns. That’s what we like to think, anyway. At this Asian-Latin fusion joint, they pile the warm white pastries with bacon, scrambled eggs, salsa verde, and white Oaxacan cheese. We’re sure the “Baby Got Back” hit maker would approve heartily.
MP Taverna, Astoria, New York
This fully loaded egg souvlaki should be known as a Greek hangover cure. The pita comes packed with spicy lamb sausage, French fries, onions, and feta. In between bites, you can rationalize your questionable choices from the night before to your understandably skeptical dining companion.
Blue Duck Tavern, Washington, D.C.
Consider this break-of-day treat a high-end Egg McMuffin. Scrambled eggs, pork sausage, and American cheese (of course!) are packed between two halves of an English muffin gussied up with a spicy aioli. Ronald McDonald, sorry, but you are running a so-distant-we-can’t-even-see-you second in this race.
The Garden at the Four Seasons Hotel, New York, New York
Executive chef John Johnson evokes the bagelwiches you used to put together when you had breakfast at your bubbe’s house. A sesame-speckled circlet comes with ribbons of smoked salmon, plenty of cream cheese, tomatoes, red onions, and capers. Not included: your grandmother’s constant questions about why you haven’t settled down yet and produced lots of grandchildren for her to spoil.
Brio, New York, New York
You’ll need two hands to tackle this hefty breakfast burger. The epic edible comes piled high with a fried egg, apple wood-smoked bacon, a shroud of melted Provolone, arugula, and tomato jam. Remember, there’s no shame in requesting extra napkins.
Aperitif Bistro, Bayside, New York
Say Bonjour! to the Croque Canard. The classic French sandwich is restyled with duck prosciutto, apple slices, creamy brie, plenty of béchamel sauce, and a fried egg. As if that wasn’t decadent enough, it comes with a side of frites – mais bien sûr (but of course).
City Tap House, Washington, D.C.
Well, butter my biscuit, this is a truly blockbuster breakfast. The Big Chick features fried chicken, bacon, an egg, potato hash, and sausage gravy on a buttermilk biscuit. Not included: a defibrillator.
Manhattan Beach Post, Manhattan, California
Here’s a primo morning munchie. Housemade sausage stars alongside scrambled eggs, tomatoes, Fontina cheese, and Calabrian puree, which is all held together by an English muffin. Open up and say, “Ahh…yeah!”
DBGB, Washington, D.C.
Executive chef Ed Scarpone calls this brunch burger the Davey in honor of his father. Nearly half a pound beef patty is accessorized with a fried egg, bacon, a slice of cream cheese (because who’s counting calories at this point?), red onion, Bibb lettuce, and a squirt of sriracha. As if that wasn’t enough, it’s garnished with a pickled jalapeno and comes with a hash brown. It’s the kind of burger that makes a dad proud.
Bar Primi, New York, New York
This breakfast sandwich has an Italian accent. It comes with grilled mortadella, scrambled eggs, Fontina cheese and sweet ‘n’ spicy banana peppers. We kindly request that you demur from showing off your Tony Soprano impression in between bites.
Farmers Fishers Bakers, Washington, D.C.
If our wishes came true, then every day would be Taco Tuesday. And we would start our mornings with this exemplary breakfast taco. Scrambled eggs, bacon, cilantro, Cotija cheese, and an eye-opening splash of hot sauce are all folded inside a house-made tortilla. Eso es genial (That’s awesome!).
Nevin Martell is a Washington, D.C.-based food and travel writer and the author of several books, including Freak Show Without A Tent: Swimming with Piranhas, Getting Stoned in Fiji and Other Family Vacations. Find him on Twitter @nevinmartell.