Shopsins General Store: Spending $19 on Breakfast Never Felt So Right

Date December 4, 2008

Decisions, decisions. Sometimes you make a risky breakfast decision and it turns out to be the best choice you’ve made all day. And decisions are central to the Shopsins’ experience where both sides of the single page paper menu (pdf) are jam-packed with well over 100 unique options.

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So study up because seating is sparse and you need to be ready when your order is taken, otherwise you may not eat at all. Or you can follow the Food Guy’s reliable lead and go with the $19 Mexican Breakfast Skillet Combination, Letter “I”: 3 Hatch green chile egg sliders, lightly fried hash browns, 3 coconut pancakes, and 3 smushed and fried plantains. In other words, insane breakfast deliciousness, in a skillet. Read on to find out why eating at Shopsins is an adventure like no other…

It All Comes Down to One Ingredient

The key ingredient to this entire skillet combo is the Hatch green chiles. Kenny Shopsin has them specially shipped from New Mexico and it’s a good thing because their flavor and level of spice blended perfectly with every aspect of this meal. Balance is achieved through the Hatch green chiles because they offset the sweetness of the pancakes, temper the saltiness of the eggs and cheese and enhance the perfectly fried yet naked hash browns.

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If things are moving slowly before your order, self serve a cup of coffee from behind the counter. That’s the kind of place Shopsins is. Take care of yourself so Kenny can take care of the food and in turn, you.

Coconut Pancakes, Fried Hash Browns & Mundane Plantains

It’s coconut and it’s pancakes. How can you go wrong? Well at Shopsins, you really can’t. These thin, airy flapjacks were loaded with shredded coconut and tasted even better when drenched in Vermont maple syrup (a tiny, individual sized bottle is provided). The pancakes’ sweetness is offset by combining bites with the spicy and cheesy sliders.

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Hash browns usually fall short because they’re undercooked, never as well done as I’d like. Not a problem here, where a quick dip in some bubbling hot oil crisps up every tiny piece of diced potato. The smashed and fried plantains were the only lackluster aspect of this meal, they ended up dry and flavorless and while their crunch was welcomed, their flavor failed to contribute to the harmony of the meal.

An Unrivaled Eating Adventure

Shopsins is an eating adventure like no other thanks to two factors:

1) the honest, eccentric and well-intentioned attitudes of the inimitable Kenny Shopsin and his family and 2) the existence of a menu overflowing with so many tantalizing and curious items, it’s a wonder Mr. Shopsin can perfectly create them all in his limited Essex Market space. But create he does and with an unrivaled flair and love for providing hearty portions of damn good food.

Alas, you don’t question greatness, and if you haven’t eaten and experienced Shopsins, you’re not a real New Yorker. Because in the end, New York City is only as strong as its neighborhoods and that’s all Kenny Shopsin hopes to create: a place where people from all of New York’s neighborhoods can come for brutally honest conversation and delicious food. What’s more New York than that?

Shopsins General Store

Pdf File Menu

Stall Number 16 – Essex Street Market (Map of Merchants)
120 Essex Street near Delancey Street
New York, NY 10002
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday 9AM to 3PM
For Shopsins, enter the Essex Street entrance closest to Delancey Street

24 Responses to “Shopsins General Store: Spending $19 on Breakfast Never Felt So Right”

  1. Before Sunrise said:

    I had heard of this place and now I want to try it even more… however… are all the breakfasts THAT big??? Did you really eat it all by yourself?

    The thought of coconut pancakes makes my mouth water :)

  2. Jack said:

    My oh my…

  3. kristen said:

    omgz that looks so good right now!!! i’m so hungover right now, going into work over 3 hours late my boss is gonna kill me!!!! i hope i dont still smell like vodka, i was out in the hillz late last night and ended up passing out in my bed WITH MY BOOTS still on hehehe. but it was a fun night! food guy — is sarge’s any good for breakfast??

  4. FN said:

    I love Shopsin’s! It is definitely not a bargain, though. It is expensive. You are paying for the character of the place. Not saying it is not worth it, just not cheap.

  5. Master said:

    Those “sliders” look like they would fit better on a hero. O_O

  6. Bill said:

    NYCFG,

    Another winner, man! I’ve been meaning to get to Shopsin’s for some time and this dish looks like as good a reason as any! Yeah, $19 is steep, but like you said it’s also about the experience and Kenny is one-of-a-kind and anyone going out to eat in NYC knows that they’re helping to pay the lease as well!!

    I love the presentation on this dish and it all soubds good to me except the plantains. Those look like tostones as opposed to maduros. I’ve never met a tostone I liked. They’ve always been dry, starchy and bland. I’d love to see this with some sweet plantains. An even better combination might be to eliminate one of the starches (the tostones) and replace it with some black beans cooked with chorizo and aromatics. Do you know how often he has the Hatch, NM chiles? I think there is a limited season for them in NM. The real maple syrup is a nice touch and that’s probably included in the price as most places charge a $1.50-$2.50 supplement for the real stuff.

  7. Sweet Freak said:

    LOL – That breakfast is *obscene*! I love it.

    (Were the coconut pancakes really great??)

  8. The NYC Food Guy said:

    Before Sunrise,
    All the portions are worth their price from what I’ve had so far, I’ve only eaten at Shopsins three times and been pleased every time. And Before Sunrise, I think you know I ate that all myself.

    kristen,
    I’ve never had Sarge’s for breakfast but its been good every other time Ive been there for lunch or late night meals. King Of Ketchup didn’t think the burger was anything special but if you get eggs or an overstuffed meat sandwich, I can’t see anything being bad. Check out my post on Sarge’s for two great breakfast ideas.

    FN,

    I agree with you, nothing is cheap but everything is worth the price because its all damn good and its really creative. Something about eating at Shopsins just makes you feel like a real New Yorker, it’s an experience without being an experience.

    Master,
    Dude, they wouldn’t be bad on a hero, thats for sure, but as greasy and filling as the sliders look, they were surprisingly light. I’d worry about a toothsome bread taking away from that.

    Bill,
    I couldn’t agree more, sweet plantains, when done right are delicious. They’re excellent at Yuca Bar. I’d love some chorizo and black beans on the side. I’d even be happy with a couple of slices of bacon. Nice analysis of the tostones vs sweet plantains and great comment as always. You need to get over to Shopsins and check it out, let me know if you want to schedule something I’ll roll over there with you.

    Sweet Freak,

    Thanks, you know how I operate. The coconut pancakes were good but not amazing. They were light and airy but the coconut did clump up a little in the middle, it wasn’t equally dispersed throughout the batter.

  9. FN said:

    I recommed that everyone watch the documentary about Shopsin’s – “I Like Killing Flies” to get the full effect. Definitely a one-of-a-kind bunch of NY characters. I have a write-up with some links attached as well.

    http://pufflist.blogspot.com/2008/10/shopsins-general-store.html

  10. kristen said:

    foody guy – what is the 2nd factor that makes Shopsins an eating adventure at the end of the review?

  11. Before Sunrise said:

    Kristen, the 2nd factor is:

    “the existence of a menu overflowing with so many tantalizing and curious items, it’s a wonder Mr. Shopsin can perfectly create them all in his limited Essex Market space. But create he does and with an unrivaled flair and love for providing hearty portions of damn good food.”

  12. kristen said:

    hehehe omgz i totally missed that, lets just say i had a FEW drinks last night before i read it!!

    i think i would marry nycfoodguy, but i might be too big of a alcoholic for him lol! is that going to be a problem for you food guy?

  13. kristen said:

    why are you ignoring me food guy?

  14. Jack said:

    Just in case you are rejected Kristen, I want to you know I am here for you, with a bottle of Goose…

  15. Adam said:

    I always felt that the tostones that are served in Shopsin’s dishes were meant to kind of serve as a vehicle to get a bunch of different tastes into your mouth at once. I always cut them into three pieces and let them hang around the bottom of the plate and eat them at the end.

    Or, use them to mop up some of the gravy from the poutine, which I have more often than not.

  16. E.Chabrains said:

    I love Shopsins! I could eat here daily if:
    1.) I wanted to gain 100 lbs this year, and
    2.) it was open late enough for me to go after work.

    I go to Shopsins literally every holiday I get off of work, and as many Saturdays I can. The Menu is unbelievable, and I read it on the train when I’m going there (yes I have it printed out, and am highlighting the food as I eat it)
    I love the Poutine, I had only ever read about it before since I have never been to Canada, and I have craved it for years though I never tasted it. To have it here was excellent, I was scared at first because it is typically a Canadian dish, but they get their curds from the cheese shop next door (Saxelbys).
    The Krakatoa is an insane amount of food, and is described as basically a “volcano” of food. The sausage stuffing is such a treat hidden under the potatoes, and the portion is, well…volcanic.
    Though it is not still on the menu (they recently updated it) I love the JoJo for breakfast, which consists of brisket, eggs, toast and mac n cheese – A ton of food, and is usually my only meal for that day.
    The mac n cheese pancakes are out of this world, and Zach suggested eating it with maple syrup and hot sauce, perfect!
    I have not had it myself, but the Soggy Bottom looks so drippy soggy yummy, I will be getting it soon, as long as I can roll up my sleeves cuz it looks messy!
    The South Pork is very filling and also one of my favorites…ok. Basically I have eaten at least 20 things on the menu, and have not even made a dent in this 900 item menu. I am officially obsessed with not only this food, but the family too. I love the Shopsins, and Shopsins General Store!!!

  17. The NYC Food Guy said:

    E.Chabrains,
    Great comment on Shopsins. You just help bring some order to what’s usually a chaotic decision process for me when I go here. The family is great. Kenny & Zach are both good people albeit an acquired taste. It’s reassuring to hang with two people who really take food seriously though. What’s up with the JoJo? It’s off the menu altogether? I recommend you try the Mexican skillet next time you’re at Shopsin’s. Let me know if you want to meet up and check it out together.

  18. Monty Burns said:

    I tried Mexican breakfast skillet I and it was delicious. The sliders were tasty although a little bit too spicy for my taste buds. I had to start picking off peppers about half way through the second slider, but this did not stop be from finishing all of them. The hash browns were just the right crispiness. I loved the coconut pancakes. However, mine were about half the size of the ones in your picture. I wish they were bigger! The plantains are no longer included. Great recommendation!

  19. The NYC Food Guy said:

    Monty Burns,
    Score. Glad to hear the food was all delicious. I thought the heat was really manageable but I have a high threshold. Nice work pushing through and finishing them all. Sorry to hear the pancakes were smaller but that’s part of the experience, you never know what you’re going to get at Shopsin’s. The hash browns really are awesome. It’s ok to not have the plantains, they didn’t really add anything to the overall dish.

  20. LR said:

    Your review really intrigued me. I finally made it to Shopsin’s, a rewarding trip. I share NYFG’s opinion of the Hatch chiles and also recommend the lemon ricotta pancakes. I would REALLY recommend studying the menu in advance, though. Faced with 900 possible combinations . . . naturally my own choice would have been mix-and-match. But somehow I assumed it would be pointless to ask about substitutions.

  21. ratbuddy said:

    Stupid question, is there beef on the sliders? Or is it just egg and peppers?

  22. The NYC Food Guy said:

    Ratbuddy,
    It’s just egg, cheese and chile on the slider. Although I’ve heard a lot of praise for Kenny’s beef sliders as well, which are supposedly almost as good if not better than White Manna in Hackensack.

    Check out my White Manna review.

  23. Conquering Shopsin’s Menu One Item at a Time: Treif, Moe II & Feather-Fried Potato Shreds w/ Jack & Hatch Chile | NYC Food Guy said:

    [...] its owner/chef, the inimitable Kenny Shopsin.  And with a constantly changing menu (the massive Mexican skillet combo is already gone) and equally unpredictable maker, every trip to Shopsin’s provides a new [...]

  24. Bobby Chance said:

    I watched the documentary on “Shopsins” Monday evening on the documetary channel. All I have to say is I would love to visit and dine at Shopsins and meet the man himself. That probably won’t happen because I’am in Oklahoma around 1500+ miles away. Too bad there are’nt more people and places like this. Keep up the good work. Bob

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