It’s hard to compete with the memory of a great meal, especially after 12 years of additional dining experiences. However, a handful of restaurants can withstand the time of time, including Katy’s Place, a Carmel restaurant that delivered a breakfast that was at least as good as it was in 1997.
Katy Curry founded Katy’s Place in 1982 in the prior home to the Broken Egg. Randy Bernett took over in 1989 with minority partner Gytha McFarland and continues to add 2-5 dishes per year. To ensure consistency, Bernett, an attorney who stopped practicing law three years ago, has employed executive chef Francisco “Pancho” Ruiz during his entire tenure. Ruiz’s employment actually predates Bernett’s ownership, to 1985.
Most customers sit at tables both indoors and out, but it’s also fun to sit at the counter, with clear views of the specials board and a window into the active but well-controlled kitchen.
The space is filled with farm-chic kitsch, including cow statuettes and decorative plates.
The reason that Katy’s Place was (and will remain) etched in my memory is their Corned Beef Hash ‘n Eggs ($13.50). The definitive version combines juicy cubes and shreds of peppery, well-spiced brisket, crusty but supple red potatoes, thin-shaved mushrooms, grilled onions and parsley. When you break the yolk on an over-easy egg and it oozes over the savory hash, there’s no better breakfast bite. One the side, we received slices of lightly buttered sourdough toast, terrific vessels for the hash.
Since there’s no finer corned beef hash in the land, the version at Katy’s Place warrants closer examination. Note the incredible sear that locks in the beef’s juices.
When Bennett took over Katy’s Place in 1989, the restaurant offered five varieties of eggs Benedict. He’s added more with his travels, including a New Mexico inspired Santa Fe Benedict with grilled onion, tomato, avocado and spicy Hollandaise sauce; Lobster Benedict with Maine lobster; and a Maryland inspired Crab Cakes Benedict.
We stuck with the classic Katy’s Eggs Benedict ($14.50) a grilled English muffin piled with thin-sliced smoked ham, a trio of poached eggs and an ocean of “glorious Hollandaise.” The kicker was running the country potatoes through the silky Hollandaise sauce. Bernett said that cooking the country potatoes requires a four-step process. They were pretty much ideal, with crusty exteriors and pillowy insides.
The sprawling menu at Katy’s Place also features a staggering array of waffles, French toast, buttermilk pancakes, omelettes and more. The plan is to bring more people next time, and to return in under a decade.