Our good friend, Emma Louise Huibregtse, is an avid eater and she might be the most adventurous chewer we know. Here she details what makes Eggslut so special, and how its decidedly “West Coast” breakfast sandwiches differ from those in New York… besides the high price.
Saturday 2:58pm: As I stood on the endless wraparound line at the popular Eggslut shop in Downtown LA’s Grand Central Market, my stomach grumbled with hunger. I couldn’t help but notice the multitude of other vendors advertising their own breakfast sandwiches nearby. As a native New Yorker, home to some of the best quick, cheap, and greasy deli bacon-egg-cheese delights, I wondered whether this West Coast’s famed egg creations could compete. Was Eggslut’s overpriced potential bite of deliciousness really worth the wait time? “It’s worth it!” a girl in line reassured me.
Rated one of the “Top 10 Restaurants in the US” by Bon Appetit magazine, she’s clearly not the only one who thinks the wait is worth it. A trip to Eggslut seems to be the latest trend on every egg-loving hipster’s to do list. As I watched couples snap photos by the yolk-yellow neon Eggslut sign or hashtag their food porn Instagram shots as “extra slutted up” (apparently code for extra bacon and avocado), I wondered how much of the appeal is in the name. According to a poll by KCET, who was sure to include Eggslut in their list of new restaurants with sexy names, “65 percent of respondents said they’d be more likely to visit a restaurant with a gross name.” With an Instagram account that boasts 64.5k followers, what started as a simple food truck in West Hollywood is now marketing itself as “more than just a meal” but rather “a gourmet experience.”
In fact, “great customer service” is one of the core values of Eggslut and I can assure you they lived up to this. With the goal of speed to feed the city, chit chat and eye-contact was never an element of my NYC breakfast experience. For just a dollar you were quickly tossed/thrown/whipped a freshly made sandwich (albeit from behind a closed back kitchen) dressed in an ungracefully wrapped foil package that was sometimes what you ordered, and all the time delicious. My Eggslut experience was radically different. “Would you like a menu?” called a rainbow-haired perky employee as she practically skipped along the line. When she accidentally missed me, she “scrambled” back to deliver a menu before the crack of the next egg.
If the sight of slabs of bacon frying away doesn’t give you a heart attack, Eggslut’s prices certainly will. I quickly bypassed the $12 “Gaucho Sandwich,” an egg sandwich with seared wagyu tri-tip steak, chimichurri, and seasoned arugula topped with a warm egg, though it sounded delicious. Even their signature “Slut” featuring a coddled egg over smooth potato puree and served in a chive-sprinkled glass jar was $9. Their menu features an array of sandwich combinations with equal amounts of savory options: beef, house-made turkey sausage and bacon – sweet: caramelized onions, salty: “gray sea salt” and spicy: “Sriracha mayo.” I decided to stick to my usual bacon, egg and cheese – at an unusual $7. Given the standard hardwood smoked bacon, a cage-free over medium egg and cheddar cheese, it was the chipotle ketchup and warm brioche bun (a fancy replacement to my usual NYC toast or roll) that caught my attention.
Finally I had reached the cashier, yet another cheerful free spirited afro sporting hipster with a bejeweled nose ring that caught the light of that yolk yellow neon sign. In a last minute panic over what to order, the patient cashier advised, “Well, the ‘slut’ is good but the baguette slices are pretty wimpy—I’d go with the Bacon Egg and Cheese if you’re hungrier.” When have you ever been at a restaurant where they actually recommend the cheaper item? Her casual honesty was refreshing. If you’ve ever tried to order a medium cup of joe at Starbucks, where they’ll publicly shame you for not knowing that it’s really a “grande” you know what I’m talking about.
On their site, Eggslut notes a focus “on quality and taste” including “consistent presentation” and “cooked to order” sandwiches. While I waited by packed counter seating, I watched the organized assembly line go to work. Unlike a NYC deli, where your marvelous mystery sandwich is constructed behind doors, Eggslut prides itself on transparency. The coddled eggs sat in a glass tub, set to the perfect time and temperature while another chef flipped fried eggs. One cook laid strips of sizzling bacon, and simultaneously squirted condiments on toasted brioche buns, all of which are made locally and delivered fresh daily. There’s even an option to swap your bun for salad at no extra charge. “Two Sluts and an OJ.” I watched a couple scurry over.
Time 3:28pm: The moment I had been waiting for was finally here. I grabbed my bacon-egg-and-cheese, delicately packaged in a branded Eggslut brown little bag, and bit in! Any egg connoisseur like myself knows the disappointment that comes with an overcooked fried egg—Slut did not disappoint. The yolk exploded like a squib in a Tarantino movie, yet the fluffy brioche bun quickly absorbed any excess yolky mess.
The chipotle ketchup was the perfect balance of spicy and sweet, and while I am not usually a fan of sweeter brioche, you cannot go wrong with freshly baked bread. Eggslut’s cheese was melted to a wilting point—different than how I usually prefer my cheese: totally melted. Likely this is because Eggslut does not press its sandwiches, as is typical of many NYC deli cooks who violently mash their breakfast sandwiches in panini grills. Instead, Eggslut sandwiches are more relaxed, chill… perhaps more West Coast?
A fluffy upbeat stack of ingredients highlighted each individual taste and texture. For once, the bacon actually crunched. A bacon-egg-and-cheese will always taste like bacon, egg, and cheese, but Eggslut opened my eyes to the possibilities in experiencing textures. A pressed NYC deli breakfast sandwich cements the bacon into the gloriously bubbling melted cheese, limiting the ability to distinguish between individual layers. Eggslut sacrificed a less melted cheese for some epically crunchy bacon—and four slabs of it, I might add!
Was it worth it? Will I return? Likely not without a friend to hang in line with. When asked why he started Eggslut, chef Alvain Cailan said he has always aspired to bring “good breakfast” to Los Angeles. “Breakfast doesn’t have to be pancakes and syrup on a big scale,” notes Cailan, who noticed the usual breakfast for Los Angelenos was stopping at a fast food chain while in commute to work.
So drop by and grab yourself the lovely creation that is Eggslut. Just know that you will be late to work, and if you are don’t get fired or you likely won’t have the funds to pay for your next overpriced, but delicious, sandwich experience.