I took a bit of comp time this morning and decided to visit again the amazing Shopsin's General Store in the Lower Eastside. Fortunately, there was a seat waiting for me when I arrived in the tiny diner, nestled in an unobtrusive corner on the south side of the Essex Market.
Chef Kenny Shopsin was holding court from the entrance, letting his assistant chef handle the breakfast orders. That is, until I decided on a whim to order the whole wheat french toast with coconut curd. The waiter looked a bit confused and had me repeat my order and point it out on the menu. Then when the chef got the order from the waiter, he called out, "Kenny, you better come back here. Someone ordered it." I guess the dish must be a new addition to the menu, since I don't see on the online version.
After a few minutes, the waiter dropped a huge plate of mac n' cheese pancakes in front of me, to my surprise. They looked as amazing as the plate I had last year. He quickly realized his mistake and whisked them away to the other diner that ordered them. Which was good, or else I would have dug in!
Finally the french toast arrived. I was a bit dubious about the use of whole wheat bread. But it actually added a nice nuttiness and a bite to the french toast, and contrasted nicely with the coconut curd filling. I tried not to drown it in the maple syrup since it was already quite sweet. Definitely some of the finest french toast I've ever had.
The side of mapled glazed bacon was equally delicious. The bacon strips were perfectly crisp and meaty, and not overpoweringly sweet.
UPDATE 1/20/10: My friend Doris reminds me of this awesome 2002 piece about the original Shopsin's in the New Yorker.