First Watch is a 30-year-old national chain based in University Park, Florida. As part of its rapid growth, First Watch bought out The Egg & I chain, which had an outpost at this same location before First Watch rebranded it. First Watch refers to the first shift of the day back in nautical times, which makes perfect sense for this breakfast-focused restaurant open from 7a to 2:30p. Although we’re not a big fan of national chains, First Watch is bright and cheery, waitstaff similarly so, and the food beautifully presented and prepared. Service is sit-down, and you get a carafe of coffee to minimize the early-morning horrifying risk of going Joeless. The eggs benedict with salmon ($13; two poached cage-free eggs atop toasted ciabatta with wild Alaska smoked sockeye salmon, red onion, and vine-ripened tomato with a side of garden greens) was gorgeously plated (one of the few chains where the food looks just as good, if not better, in person than the photo) and delicious. The farmhouse skillet hash ($11; two cage-free eggs atop bacon, avocado, house-roasted onions and tomatoes with cheddar and Monterey jack) was similarly well presented and heartily delicious. Based on the short wait and full tables, First Watch has already become a staple for the neighborhood. I’m hoping they expand the concept to late-evening fare with a place called Night Watch inspired by the off-the-hook Russian sci-fi movie of the same name!
– meh [think twice]
* OK [it’ll get the job done]
** good [solid neighborhood joint]
*** damn good [we’ll definitely be back]
**** yippity-yikes that was amazeballs [fantastic; one of the best]
***** holy sh!t [transcendental; best of the best]
I wrote this review for the Allandale Neighbor