So long as there’s beef and an egg on the plate, it could conceivably count as steak-and-eggs. But in the context of American dining, nobody thinks first of corned beef hash with poached eggs or beef sausage and scrambled eggs: Steak-and-eggs means rib-eye, sirloin or strip with sunny-side-up eggs alongside.
Learn its backstory
Prior to the advent of commercially made cereals at the tail end of the 19th century, breakfast in America wasn’t radically different from dinner in America. Beefsteak, chicken, oysters, cake and pie were commonly served in the morning, especially by cooks looking to use up leftovers from dinner the previous night.
Even in the corn flake era, breakfast steaks maintained a loyal fan base that stretched from the Las Vegas Strip to Cape Canaveral, where Alan Shepard in 1961 established the NASA tradition of pre-space flight steak-and-eggs. The two favorites continued to make joint appearances when convenience foods became the norm, co-starring atop fast-food biscuits and within frozen burritos.
But the current “put an egg on it” generation of burger eaters has helped revive the extravagant, steak knife-required version of the breakfast dish.
“When consumers eat breakfast on the run, they accept comfort foods in whatever form their schedules allow,” the American Egg Board reported in its recent survey of breakfast trends. “But when given the luxury of time to enjoy a breakfast – no matter when it’s consumed – they want indulgence.”
Between 2011 and 2015, breakfast menu mentions of smoked salmon, shrimp and crab increased by 15 percent nationwide. Although the egg board didn’t cite a similar statistic for steak, conditions are good for brunch dishes such as 492’s Delmonico steak with egg and tomato marmalade: According to a Mintel study, eaters aged 44 or younger value “indulgence” over “health” when buying breakfast from a restaurant.
And order it here
The Grocery, 4 Cannon St., 843-302-8825, thegrocerycharleston.com (“Steak ‘n’ Eggs for two or more”: Bone-in rib-eye, papas bravas, Caesar salad, gruyere-and-fine herbs omelet, $90. Sundays only.)
— Hanna Raskin