Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Red Hot & Blues - Breakfast (Closed)

** This restaurant has closed (Oct. 2010)

"Baseball is the only field of endeavor where a man can succeed three times out of ten and be considered a good performer." -Ted Williams
Back in the day, I used to go to Denny's for breakfast.

By "back," I mean at college. By "in the day," I mean at night -- usually 3:00 a.m. after a session of serious... studying.

By "breakfast," I mean the Grand Slam®. That's two buttermilk pancakes, two pieces of bacon, two sausages, and two eggs, any style.

Back in the present, if you suddenly have a driving inner need for an American-style breakfast in Prague, Red Hot & Blues is an option.I found myself nearby the restaurant early one weekend morning, and on impulse, I went for it. I walked in the door at 8:53 a.m.

According to the website, the restaurant opens at 8:00 a.m., but the kitchen doesn't open until 9:00 a.m. So, I had 7 minutes to think about why that might be.There is a bar in the front room where I ate breakfast.

It reminded me of some other "back in the day" breakfast adventures.Many years ago at a down and out bar, we used to drink pitchers of beer with our scrambled eggs on Saturday mornings. I appreciated a sign on the wall at Paddy's Ale House: "No children or pets after 6:00 p.m."

A necessary sign.

At breakfast, kids were running around, while an elderly lady spilled a little Busch beer on the bar for her perched mini-poodle to lap up.

But in the front room at Red Hot & Blues, I was alone.

There is a larger dining room that was also empty. It has a glass ceiling that lets the daylight come in and is a bit more cheerful.

And next to that, is the dining area where there is live music in the evenings.

I once had an enjoyable night listening to the talented Jamie Marshall sing and play classic cover tunes on his acoustic guitar and verbally joust with the audience.

For breakfast, they have options like French toast, huevos rancheros, and omelettes.

I ordered their priciest offering, the "Homerun Special," as the clock struck nine. I did this purely out of a nostalgic weakness for baseball-themed breakfasts.

Was it a hit?

I'd say no. They did not hit this one out of the park. Not even close.

I got my eggs scrambled. They were as bland as the day they were laid. As far as I could tell, there was no seasoning, not even salt.

Strike one.There was a reasonable portion bacon, but it was overcooked. It was brittle and broke into small shards.

Strike two.

The two small pancakes were warm, but not hot. They were thin and a little dense, rather than fluffy. I don't think they were made with an American-style mix, such as Bisquick.

I'll mention here that they run a little food shop next door that sells hard-to-find American goods.

I'd call these pancakes low and close to the zone, but not a strike.The toast was cold. Spreading the cold butter on them was rather difficult.

Some foul tips, but with two strikes, "Homerun" was still alive at the plate.

The hash browns were the best part. The shredded potatoes were perfectly salted, and full of onions, fried up perfectly. They helped rescue the eggs when I got them together on the fork, along with some ketchup.

Then, there was the price: 289 CZK.

Strike three!

For scorekeepers at home, I'd note that a few years ago, a Grand Slam® could be had for $3.99. At today's exchange rates, the "Homerun Special" was something like $18.00.

I also had a bottle of Mattoni mineral water for 45 CZK, which would be around $2.80.

Some people might cry foul and say it is unfair or even meaningless to look at Czech prices in dollar terms.

So, I'll compare it with another place in Prague, Cafe Savoy.

About a year ago, I wrote a post about my American Breakfast there, which cost 233 CZK (it is now 245 CZK).

Cafe Savoy is not so cheap, either. But it is a favorite because they serve quantity and quality:

*First, you get fried eggs, great bacon, and well-seasoned chicken breast on thick, quality toast.
*Second, the egg sandwich comes with homemade fries
*Third, there's fresh-squeezed orange juice and special Savoy hot chocolate.
*And bringing it all home, there's homemade jam and bread, fresh fruit, and a fiendishly good chocolate praline.

Now, that's what I'd call a grand slam.

Game over.

Red Hot & Blues
Jakubská 12
Prague 1 - Old Town
Tel. (+420) 222 314 639

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Anonymous said...

Went there for New Year and vowed never to return.

Substandard food, ok service, high prices. How do places like this stay open?

Anonymous said...

It's easy--a bunch of clueless, fish-out-of-water American expats who nevertheless walk the streets of Prague with their American smugness, condescension and sense of superiority are completely unable to acculturate and continue to live their lives as if they were still in America. They do this by:

1. Socializing almost exclusively with other Americans

2. Refusing to learn word one of the Czech language

3. Constantly offering unsolicited information to the troglodytic natives about "how it is in America"

4. Eating at American shitholes like Red Hot & Blues.

NOTE: This does not apply to the dear author of this blog who, as best I can tell, is guilty only of #4.

Brewsta said...

Based on my brief evening visit when I stopped to listen to the music and drink a beer, just about everyone there, as far as I could tell, was a German or British tourist. I think tourists are their base, rather than expats. The shop next door is a different matter.

Anonymous said...

I think Red, Hot and Blues falls into the category of an early "Western" import that has failed to keep pace with the city. If memory serves, it opened sometime in '93 or '94 and offered a real alternative to what was available at the time. It's more or less stayed the same, while the rest of the city is unrecognizable from how it was then. I am surprised it's lasted as long as it has in it's present form. There's still plenty of room in Prague for a restaurant offering good southern U.S.-style cooking, but this isn't it.

joanh said...

wow US$18.. that's pretty crazy.. too bad it wasn't worth it.