The Dish

People’s Kitchen serves a delicious, fresh take on a deli classic

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I am not typically a breakfast person. I eat a hardboiled egg most mornings to better metabolize my supplements and caffeine, and then I tend not to think about food for many hours. Some days, however, I awake with a furious hunger  that must be sated, preferably by extremely tasty means. Where to go, though? 

Being a non-habitual breakfast eater, I am always drawn to places with unconventional a.m. options. Some quick Googling revealed that the quirky east side favorite The People’s Kitchen now offers breakfast Wednesday through Friday (9 a.m.- 3 p.m.). I’d been operating under the misapprehension that they only served brunch Saturday and Sunday. So, naturally, I was obligated to deepen my understanding of the situation. 

People’s Kitchen has a notably lovely dining room and offers a variety of classics and comfort foods with a twist. The breakfast options range from the tried-and-true trinity of eggs, meat and potatoes to a cheesy penne and spicy sausage pasta. The Smoked Salmon Tart made my choice easy, with its mentions of cream cheese and “everything” dressing alluding to one of my all-time favorite noshes: a bagel with lox. 

The dish is best described as a deconstructed take on the aforementioned New York deli classic. A generous serving of tender, subtly smoky salmon sits atop a perfect circle of herbed cream cheese and crushed pine nuts. Beneath that, you’ll find spring greens, pickled red onions and a vinaigrette with garlic, onion, poppy and sesame seeds. It has it all. Served alongside are toasted pieces of sourdough for build-a-biting your own little canapes — the task I was born to do. 

The menu’s description mentioned peppadews (small, pickled peppers), which I was sad to see missing from my plate, but the trendy-for-good-reason pickled red onions saved the day, adding a lovely zing to each bite. The greens were fresh (which should be a given but sadly isn’t always) and lent a light, bright counterpart to the rich salmon and cheese. 

Not pictured is the side of Crispy Yukons, which I couldn’t help adding because potatoes are my favorite element on the breakfast periodic table. These were magnificent. Whole Yukon Gold potatoes coated in salt crystals. Their creamy interior bursts through the truly crispy cracks created in the smashing and frying process. I ate them with my hands, dipping them in ketchup. 

Because I’d already had my full-strength coffee at home, I enjoyed a cup of freshly brewed, perfect Craft & Mason decaf with my meal and thought, in a “Sliding Doors” or butterfly effect way, how different life might be as a breakfast-eater. I took a nap about an hour later.  

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