Millcreek Cafe & Eggworks
3084 E. 3300 South, Salt Lake City ; 801-485-1134
This hip Millcreek eatery offers traditional breakfast fare and updated lunch items.
Hours: Open daily, 7 a.m.-2 p.m.
Recommended Dishes: Reuben panino and pancakes.
November 8, 2006
Brunch-savvy Millcreek Cafe eggs on early-bird niche
By Lesli J. Neilson
A wise editor once offered me this observation: "If there are three, then you've got a trend." Well, when it comes to newish eateries that are open for breakfast and lunch only, there's Nilla's Hot Rod Cafe, Finn's and now Millcreek Cafe & Eggworks.
Open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily, Millcreek Cafe is filling that much-needed open-on-Sunday niche as well. If recent bustling weekend brunches were any indication, young families with kids, digging into the likes of chocolate chip pancakes, have already discovered this spot.
The space, formerly offices, a Speedy's Cafe and a Skippers before that, was completely gutted and redone. Hues of yellow adorn the walls and stylish pendant lamps hang over tabletops. The seating -- regular tables, bar tables and a free-standing bar -- satisfies all dining types. Photography by local artists line the walls. The décor is simple but tastefully done. The same goes for the breakfast and lunch menus.
Breakfast, served all day, includes egg dishes and bready offerings -- think pancakes, French toast and waffles.
The Millcreek classic ($4.99) comes with two eggs, a choice of meat (bacon, ham or sausage), hash browns and toast (white, wheat or English muffin). My over-easy eggs were moist and quivering and came with a big slice of ham, which was chilly. I sent it back to be reheated and got a new, steaming hot slice.
For those who don't want to be bothered with choices, there's the Millcreek mound ($7.50) -- two eggs, hash browns, bacon, ham, sausage and cheddar cheese are all piled atop one another, thus the "mound."
While the latter offerings were successful, a few breakfast selections could use a bit of tweaking. The white grilled bread in the breakfast panino ($6.50) -- two scrambled eggs, a choice of ham or bacon and cheddar Jack cheese -- arrived soggy from the steaming hot contents and the breading on the chicken-fried steak ($7.99) was overly peppery and dense while the accompanying gravy needed thinning.
All of Millcreek's "bready" selections could be much improved with the addition of real, warmed maple syrup, rather than the room-temperature corn-syrup filled dispensers set at each table.
French toast, with frozen and fresh fruit such as strawberries, blueberries and blackberries ($8.25) or without fruit ($6.25), was four diagonal halves of Texas toast that were crisp on the edges and fluffy in their centers. The taste was run-of-the-mill and could have hit the mark with added vanilla, cinnamon and other spices in the egg dip. The pancakes ($1.99 for a side, $2.99 for a short stack and $3.99 for a tall stack), with or without chocolate chips, on the other hand, were big, light and fluffy.
Though the espresso machine was having troubles on a recent visit and I had to settle for drip coffee, the fresh-squeezed orange juice (small, $1.99; large, $2.99) was refreshing.
At lunch, the menu is divided into burgers, panini, wraps, salads and sides. Thin-cut, blond and delicious french fries come with the former three.
A cheese-topped 1/4-pound patty and bacon ($6.75), sandwiched between a toasted stone-ground sheepherder roll, make up the decent bacon cheeseburger. Lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, red onion slices and those great fries come on the side.
Panini -- the popular Italian grilled sandwiches that have caught on all over the U.S. -- are some of the better offerings on the Millcreek lunch menu. Of the six panini selections, the "Reuben" (all panini are $6.75) is a standout. Millcreek's version combines pastrami, swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing. Other panini include pastrami, "veggie," ham, Italian and chicken pesto.
The Italian salad ($6.75), one of two meal-size salads, is straightforward and large. It's a tangle of mixed greens, tomatoes, mushrooms, canned black olives, thinly sliced ham, pepperoni coins, provolone and Parmesan cheeses. A hard-cooked egg can be added for an additional 99 cents.
As of this writing, there is no dessert. It's a bummer, because I can see a place like this offering an old-fashioned root beer float or warm cookies and milk without much effort.
Servers are friendly but still could manage to fine-tune their skills and the kitchen could do the same.
But the restaurant is obviously onto something. With three new places to choose from, it sure makes the "where should we go for Sunday brunch?" decision a lot easier.
Tribune's rating system
1 star Good
2 stars Very good
3 stars Excellent
4 stars Extraordinary
$ Entree under $10
$$$$ Above $25
1 bell Quiet (under 65 decibles)
2 bells Can talk easily (65-70)
3 bells Talking somewhat difficult (70-75)
4 bells Raised voices (75-80)
A bomb Too noisy for normal conversation (80+)
The Tribune covers the cost of all meals at reviewed restaurants. Star ratings are based on a minimum of two visits. Ratings are updated continually based on at least one revisit. There is no connection between reviews and advertising.