On a cloudy, unremarkable Tuesday, I arrange plans with my lunch-date, Olivia, to meet at First Watch’s Troy location at half past eleven. Personally, I think the timing is awkward. It’s too late to be ordering breakfast yet early to be thinking about lunch, but she convinces me that we’ll beat the lunch crowd if we order before noon. When we approach the hostess, she tells us there will be at least a 15-minute wait. The place is packed, even on a weekday. While most breakfast-brunch-lunch joints might experience a lull in traffic between certain time frames, First Watch’s tables are always filled. Their menu features an array of inventive plates, like Lemon Ricotta Pancakes, Farm Stand Breakfast Tacos, and Floridian French Toast, which calls for thick slices of brioche covered in powdered cinnamon sugar, fresh bananas, kiwi, and berries. Every First Watch branch sources its ingredients from local farms, which means that dishes vary based on location, and is yet another reason to visit.
I was already overwhelmed by the options when the waitress handed me a second menu listing their seasonal entrees and sides. I considered the Heritage Pork Chop and Eggs, a Pumpkin Pancake Breakfast, and Butternut Squash Bisque. Is it gluttonous, or even appetizing, to order all three? I chose the Truffled Wild Mushroom Frittata, the Million Dollar Bacon, and a Kale Tonic. I was skeptical that food chains could actually deliver a sophisticated plate, but First Watch proved me wrong.
It’s true that you eat first with your eyes and presentation is not at the expense of flavor here. Atop my frittata was a landscape of truffle-roasted Crimini and shitake mushrooms dressed in shallot and garlic shavings, a dollop of herb cream cheese, and a forest of arugula. The four slices of hardwood smoked bacon are drizzled in maple syrup with black pepper, cayenne, and brown sugar sprinklings.
Before I go into how everything actually tasted, let me provide some background about why breakfast, and specifically, eggs, has instilled a fear in me that I had not shaken until I visited First Watch. My grandmother, bless her heart, cooked “scrambies,” which always spurred digestive issues hours later. In college, the dining hall cooks would pour a mysterious yellow liquid onto a skillet grill, that would then be scrambled into “eggs.” These, too, caused digestive issues. As result, I’ve vowed to never ordered anything sunny-side-up, poached, or scrambled.
However, I trusted in First Watch because of the numerous recommendations it has received. After spreading the herb cream cheese, I forked what I hoped to be the end to a saga of undercooked eggs. I was more than pleasantly surprised. Moist and soft, yet firm, I instantly realized what I had been missing out on. Fresh eggs, when prepared correctly, are in fact a breakfast essential.
812 E Big Beaver Rd., Troy; 248-781-8090. Br & L Daily.