I’ll be the first to admit that the popular weekend brunch spot in my hometown was a mediocre, piece-of-shit excuse for a restaurant, but I went there every other weekend, and would probably have taken you there as my guest, because that’s where everyone went – and it was the only place in town to get a tofu scramble and tempeh sausage breakfast. Looking back, I’d be ashamed to take you there.
Now, I’m not saying Sabrina’s is shame worthy like my local brunch hot spot. Sabrina's most definitely is not. I’ve been to the original Sabrina’s a few times, and, more often than not, it puts out some decent food. I’m just saying that Sabrina’s doesn’t deserve the devotion of so many Philadelphians lining up outside the door every weekend waiting for hours to eat a brunch just as good as many other brunches to be had around town.
To alleviate the lines, and possibly capitalize on their success, Sabrina’s opened a second location serving the same menu; Sabrina’s Too in the Fairmount neighborhood. Now, I’ll go to Sabrina’s if I don’t have to wait in a long line.
There was a line at Sabrina’s Too, but it wasn’t out the door like at Sabrina’s Bella Vista location, although I can imagine that if you hit Sabrina’s Too at the right time, it can extend to the street. The wait at Sabrina’s Too was only 15-20 minutes. Not bad.
Lots of folks hate egg salad, and would never think of ordering an egg salad sandwich from a restaurant. I usually think better of it, too, even though I like egg salad. The mouth-stretchingly large egg salad sandwich at Sabrina’s was beyond bland, and the dressing/binder was thin.
Sabrina’s signature sweet potato fries sprinkled with cinnamon and powdered sugar accompany the sandwich (can get regular fries instead), along with a dab of tangy coleslaw. The sides were the best things on the plate. The server asked how I found the sandwich in a knowing tone, and recommended the tuna salad sandwich next time.
How about an omelet filled with apples and cheddar cheese? Omelet and cheese – check. Apple and cheese – check. Omelet, cheese, and apple – not good. This combination sounded good, but left us saying, “Ew.”
I think a sharp cheese would have taken the sweet edge off the apples, and made this dish better. The melted white cheddar inside the omelet was mild, even though the menu described the cheese as sharp. Maybe the combo of apples and eggs were the problem. The toast was whole-grainy good, and the potatoes could have used seasoning.
With that last experience at Sabrina’s, I’ll stand behind my assertion that Sabrina’s is living and growing on undeserved hype. (I can feel the shit storm coming. This happened when I nay-sayed the holy Philly institution of Monks. How dare I?)
Sabrina's Cafe & Spencer's Too
1802 Callowhill St., Philadelphia, PA, 19130
Tues.-Sat., 8 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sun.-Mon., 8 a.m.-4 p.m.