I've been to Room 39 before, I think as a gifted dinner for my wedding, and enjoyed it very much. But the prices were aptly high so I didn't return until recently... for brunch.
I think brunch can be a good indicator of the type of chef that runs a particular restaurant. My theory is that the best restaurants, whith chefs who truly care about everything that is served from their kitchen, serve good brunch. And the chefs who think their customers are all the same and want nothing but french toast and scrambled eggs are the ones whose dinner menus are adequate but feel a little dated and lazy.
Room 39 has, of course, the basics. It has scrambled eggs if you want them. It has French Toast if you want that. But it convinced me it was a restaurant of that more special caliber with the delicious breakfast I was wise enough to choose: Oven Eggs.
Oven eggs consisted of a simple, round and thick-cut piece of toast with a single, thin slice of genoa salama on it, covered in melted gruyere and topped with two farm-fresh egg yolks. The short stack is baked in the oven just long enough to bring the slightest firmness to the outside of the yoks and melt the gruyere, so, of course, the beauty of the architecture of the dish is that the yolks break on top of the tower and then run down the sides, creating a wading pool through which to shmear and soak the toast.
I'm a savory kind of guy, though, so what I truly loved about the dish was the salami. I can't get its delicious flavor out of it out of my head. The portion was almost so small it only served as a tease, but was just large enough to be an intensely satisfying layer in the dish. I'd like to go back for lunch sometime just to see if they'd make me an off-the-menu sandwich with the same bread, many slices of the salami and a fried egg in place of the runny yolks. Maybe a little frize or arugula, mayo and dijon... I think I really might go back and make the suggestion. Just see what happens.
Yes, this trip to Room 39 reinforced my good brunch/good restaurant, bad brunch/bad restaurant theory. So, the next time you're ruefully complaining about your paycheck being completely spent 48 hours after receiving it, remember that those pricey, out-of-reach restaurants' great service and higher end atmosphere can be more attainable if you're able to drag yourself out of bed early enough to take advantage of their brunch.
Rating - three napkins