Chow Bella

The Santa Fe Eggs Benedict at Scramble in Phoenix Leaves Much to Be Desired

Where: Scramble
 6 a.m to 2 p.m. daily
Dish:  Santa Fe Eggs Benedict
Price: $12.28 (including tax and tip)

The Setting: 
Scramble is an order-at-the-counter breakfast and lunch spot, and diners walk past a brightly lit menu and a small beverage case before placing orders and taking seats. The Phoenix location of Scramble is bright and airy. Natural light fills the space and a loud shade of orange is spotlighted throughout the restaurant. A giant word search in the dining area invites diners to look for 17 kinds of eggs while they eat. A station in the center of the restaurant houses Scramble's coffee selection, silverware, and meal "extras," including jam, ketchup, and seven kinds of hot sauce; diners are expected to help themselves to what they need. There were plenty of tables at Scramble — many for two, some for four, and even a counter with a view of the nearby mountains. There was also a dog-friendly patio facing Seventh Street. Seven televisions throughout the restaurant added to Scramble's casual atmosphere, playing cartoons, the news, football, and the Food Network.  
The Food: 
We ordered the Santa Fe Eggs Benedict, advertised as being served on jalapeño cornbread with cured ham and chipotle Hollandaise. It came out quickly, and in keeping with the décor of the restaurant, everything on the plate had an orange hue. The Santa Fe Eggs Benedict appeared flatter than the typical version of the dish, and the Hollandaise was darker than we anticipated. The ham component to the dish was standard — salty pieces of cured ham, griddled just enough to create caramelized spots on the meat to add depth and sweetness. The cornbread base had a subtle hint of spiciness and was quite dense. Semi-dehydrated corn kernels were sprinkled throughout, and the relatively thin piece of cornbread was moist and solid. As advertised on a sign near the counter, the poached eggs were well-cooked, with firm whites and runny yolks. The yolks blended with the chipotle Hollandaise sauce, which was heavy and almost sticky. It tasted more like a cheese sauce than a Hollandaise and had a slightly burnt taste to it. It smothered the rest of the Eggs Benedict completely.

The hash browns were a deliciously crispy nest of shredded potato. Both sides of the hash browns were darkly cooked with just a thin section of tender potato between them. While the potatoes were well done, they weren't greasy or burnt, and each bite provided a satisfying crunch. For diners who don't like their potatoes crispy, we recommend asking for the hash browns less done, but we typically like ours on the darker side, so this was perfect.
The Good:
The staff was so friendly at Scramble. From the people who took our order at the counter to the woman who brought our food, everyone was chatty and kind. When we forgot to get our silverware from the center station, the server who dropped our meal offered to get it for us. The space itself was nice, too — there were so many seats but the rectangular shape of the restaurant maintained a nice level of closeness. Because of the counter seating and free WiFi, it was a place we could imagine going to alone without feeling too awkward. We also liked that both breakfast and lunch were served all day. In addition, the fact that Scramble opens at 6 a.m. daily is great for early risers.

The Bad:
We really didn't like our food. The denseness of the cornbread blended into the runny egg and Hollandaise, and the Hollandaise sauce itself was goopy and had an off-putting burnt cheesy flavor. Unfortunately, the Hollandaise was everywhere, so it was difficult to tell if the dish would be good without the sauce. Although Scramble advertised that they use local farmers and vendors, the freshness didn't translate to this particular dish. Between the homogenous texture of Santa Fe Eggs Benedict and the unpleasant flavor, we were very disappointed with this choice. We also didn't love that we were responsible for getting all of our own things (besides the food itself) at the center station. Even at a restaurant where diners order at the counter, it's nice to have at least your silverware and napkins brought over with your food. We had to make a few runs to the center station and even so, we forgot ketchup and went without it rather than getting up for a third time.

All In All:
While the natural light and friendly staff were great, we didn't like our meal. Because of this, we wouldn't go back to Scramble. However, if someone else was dying to go, we would give it one more chance and hope that we just ordered the wrong thing this time around.
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