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.
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.
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.
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?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