As someone who lives and breathes food, one of my primary gripes about the State College food scene is the lack of a quality sit-down brunch.
The obvious choice for brunch in downtown State College would be The Waffle Shop. But while the classic diner fare is high quality, long lines on weekends and the fact that it only accepts cash means a trip to The Waffle Shop can sometimes be more inconvenient than enjoyable.
A few months ago, I reviewed brunch at Champs Downtown, and I found the food to be delicious — but the sports bar atmosphere and loud club music was a little overstimulating for a Sunday morning.
So in my efforts to find the perfect weekend brunch experience, I stopped by The Corner Room.
The Corner Room’s breakfast menu offers both classic and reimagined breakfast and brunch staples — such as pancakes, omelets and skillets.
I ordered the smoked salmon Benedict, which consisted of an English muffin topped with salmon, a poached egg and hollandaise sauce, served with a side of breakfast potatoes.
As I’ve said before, I’m a firm believer that high-quality eggs Benedict is a marker of a high-quality diner. It’s a quick recipe that’s also bafflingly easy to ruin. An improperly poached egg, a burnt muffin or hollandaise sauce that’s too thin or grainy can make or break this dish.
I decided to try it with smoked salmon instead of ham or Canadian bacon to see if The Corner Room was onto something with this reimagined dish.
Overall, I thought that swapping ham for smoked salmon was an interesting change of pace. I enjoyed how the intensely flavorful fish played against the mild egg and English muffin.
However, I also found that the salty salmon and the lemony hollandaise sauce didn’t exactly pair together. I wished there was something sweet to balance out the tang from the hollandaise sauce.
This is usually accomplished with the slightly honeyed flavor of ham, which was obviously missing in this take on eggs Benedict.
My verdict on the salmon Benedict: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it — but I’m excited to try The Corner Room’s eggs Benedict with Canadian bacon next.
As for the breakfast potatoes, I was thrilled to see they were seasoned with fresh herbs instead of dried ones — you wouldn’t believe the difference in flavor this simple swap makes. Although I personally thought they could have done with a little salt, I could have easily eaten an entire plate of breakfast potatoes for my meal and been satisfied.
The friend I convinced to wake up at 8 a.m. on a Saturday with me ordered French toast with berries and fresh cream cheese whipped cream.
He was served a massive plate piled high with French toast and berries, with dollops of thick cream cheese whipped cream throughout — and since he couldn’t finish it all, I had the privilege of picking off of the plate.
Part of me wishes I’d ordered the French toast instead — the crusts were delightfully crispy, and the bread itself rich and flavorful. The cream cheese whipped cream was the star of this dish, with the perfect balance of sweet and tangy, and a thick texture that would also be delicious on waffles or a cake.
All in all, I’d love to go back to The Corner Room to sample more of its fare. If you’d like to try it out for yourself, it’s open for breakfast from 8-11 a.m. Friday through Sunday.
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