“This just saved my soul.”
It’s so bright.
“Of course I’m alive! I’m Sully! What kind of question is that?”
He’s so loud.
I’m operating on limited system functionality this morning. My sunnies are a comforting buffer for my retinas, and Broods is playing in my ears, as befitting a soundtrack as any for the part of the book that I’m currently at (Note: I would never give away parts of Game of Thrones…that would be terribly horrible of me, and I’m not cut from the same cloth as that guy who sent spoilers to girls on Tinder). As I walk, fully engrossed in what are the last few chapters, I suddenly pitch forward, stumbling as the toe of my shoe catches the raised edge on a bit of concrete. Falling, you’re falling! My reflexes are slow, but I manage to regain my balance to avoid plummeting face first into the sidewalk because like the fool that I am, self-preservation failed to activate, and my hands don’t release my book to save myself as they should. I’m going to fall and break my teeth one day, I just know it. Irrational fear #3.
A few seconds later I look up from my book only to realize that I’ve passed Rock Lobster. As I backtrack and chastise myself for not having the sense to close my book after almost smashing my face into the ground, Sully is standing before me locking up his bike. “Good timing!” he says as we enter the restaurant.
No bar today. I need fresh air. We’re led to the back of the restaurant and through a door which opens up to a lovely patio. Both sides have built-in booths leaving the centre open to feature a long, narrow plank of wood lined with metal bar stools. The entire space is empty, and the server asks where we’d like to sit. I immediately take a liking to the smooth and beautifully varnished table, drop my bag upon it and beam, “right here!”
Sully blinks and looks around, gesturing wide with his arms and says to me, “You can sit anywhere you want, and you choose there?” I glare through my sunnies, “Okay Mr. Fussypants! Would you like to sit over here?” and I walk over to one of the booths.
His hands go up in mock defense, “No, no! We’ll sit here if you want. It’s just the worst spot,” he mutters that last part, and before I can argue I see what he means. I’d chosen an area where the table legs all but take up the space underneath making it difficult to sit. Our server suggests the end of the table, and as luck would have it, there’s a support beam to lean against. Perfect, no more falling for this one.
When the menus are brought, I take one glance and realize I don’t really need to read it since I’m here for one thing and one thing only. Except today, the word ‘Lobster’ precedes the words ‘Eggs Benny’ which clears some of the fog from my brain. Lobster. What a wonderfully delicious crustacean.
“We’ll have the Lobster Eggs Benny,” I say seconds after being handed the menu.
Our server stares at me, “Really? You sound very decided.”
“That’s what we’ve come for, specifically for this,” I say to her as she collects the menus which have spent less than a minute in our hands.
After taking drink orders she’s gone, and I’m left in the oh-so-bright open patio to do battle with Sully. Gadzooks, he’s so alert and opinionated today. I realize that I don’t possess the necessary mental capacity to adequately deal with him. I groan inwardly and make a note to have a quiet Saturday. I just want lobster.
“Why do you look sad?”
My head shoots up from my plate. My server is looking at me with a shocked expression. Crap! She can see the sadness in my eyes through my sunnies! I rearrange my facial expression into a smile and struggle to find something to say, only to come up empty. “No! I’m not sad!” Gah, I’m a terrible liar.
As the server walks from the patio, Sully mutters “she looks sad because we’re hoping it tastes better than it looks” and I smile with the knowledge at least I’m not alone in feeling forlorn at seeing my plate. “They definitely need to improve their presentation skills, that’s for sure,” he says.
I sit, and proceed to watch Sully go through his process. He dips his knife in the pale yellow sauce, and after a couple seconds announces “that’s hollandaise.” He cuts through the egg and lobster to reveal the base, “that’s definitely not an English muffin.” As he takes his first bite, I wait patiently for the verdict.
“It’s not bad.” That’s it? Are you going to say anything else? “Is this hollandaise?” That’s it I suppose.
I begin my eggs benny ritual and make the first cut.
Aaaah…lobster. Exactly what I came for.
It’s good. The egg is perfectly runny, the buttermilk biscuit adds a nice thick layer, and the hollandaise is creamy, flavourful, and has a savoury aftertaste that I can’t quite put my finger on. Needless to say, the lobster chunks were delicious and went quite nicely with the egg and biscuit. Presentation really did not take away from the taste of this lobster eggs benny, no need to be sad. I proceeded to devour everything on my plate, and when I was finished, I was left wanting more. Literally. I wanted more.
“That wasn’t very filling,” Sully remarks. I share his sentiment. I still want more.
When the server returns, Sully asks “how is the hollandaise sauce made?”
She says she’ll find out and turns to leave, but before she does I blurt out a request: “can I have a tiny bowl of lobster? Please?” My hands have formed a small circle in front of my body, and I feel very much like Oliver asking for more porridge. She smiles at me, “I’ll see what I can do.” Yes!
I grin at Sully, extremely pleased with myself until he says “you know you’re sharing half of that lobster with me.”
I am absolutely ecstatic when the server places the little bowl of lobster in front of me. She leans in, “I’m being judged for this,” and I don’t understand why. “They think it’s strange that someone would order a bowl of lobster.” WHAT?! Obviously not lobster lovers in there. I’d be getting high fives left, right and centre from true lobster lovers.
Several people then walk through the patio door and approach the table, and I have this sudden irrational fear that they’ve come to take the tiny bowl of lobster away from me. Panicked, I hunch and curl my arms protectively around the small little white bowl as a man dressed from head to toe in black moves to stand next to me.
He bellows, “who’s asking about how I make my hollandaise sauce?!” I visibly relax. Oh good, my lobster is safe. He’s here for Sully.
As the chef begins to explain in detail the whole process to us, I zone out but nod my head lest he think I’m not paying attention. Thank goodness Sully is attentive, or at least he pretends better than I do. I snap to attention however the moment I hear the mention of ‘tabasco‘ and ‘worcestershire sauce,‘ recalling that there was something about the hollandaise sauce that differed from the rest I’d tasted. There was a subtle, but noticeable kick and now I know why. I feel as if I’m now privy to a secret…that I just shared online.
Rock Lobster has thus far captured my 1st place prize for their hollandaise sauce. Sully mentioned the bubbles, that it was light. The chef explained that he whipped it more than usual. I would have used the word ‘frothy’ but regardless of its frothiness, it was quite tasty.
A friend Sully works with has joined us, and when he receives his plate of lobster eggs benny, he sighs after his first bite and cheers, “This just saved my soul!”
Suffice to say, despite the presentation and small portion size, Rock Lobster’s Lobster Eggs Benny comes a close second to Lady Marmalade at a 4.0. The staff is friendly, helpful and accommodating, and I would recommend sitting on the patio at the long centre table. That’s where all the action is.
The quest for the best Eggs Benedict in Toronto continues next week in the Junction at Sully’s pick, The Farmhouse Tavern which has come highly recommended. I think I won this round.
Until next time Benny…