What is it about omelet bars? You see one at a breakfast buffet, and it’s like a homing beacon. Are we lured in by the heat lamps? The chef’s toque? (Ever notice how unhappy the chef at the omelet station is? No one, as Anthony Bourdain told us years ago, ever wants to work a Sunday brunch, that most thankless shift. Also, skip the seafood salad.) We simply love eggs folded over like a blanket with our favorite toppings tucked inside. And we’re often willing to wait what seems like an eternity for our order to be ready.
So when friends of mine up at the Jersey Shore suggested we do brunch at a place called Mariner’s Cove in Brielle, whose claim to fame is a menu of more than 200 omelets, I was intrigued. I also pictured something along the lines of the Chart House. Instead, it was a wooden shack of a diner—but with a line out the door. There’s barely any room to move inside, but the service was friendly. As for the omelets, you could conceivably eat a different one every day from here til mid-February 2013 if you cared to (and had the gastronomical wherewithal). I settled on the Belly Buster (seen here), which features ham, bacon, sausage, potatoes, onions, and melted cheese.
A word of advice: With so many toppings (as happens with pizza), the flavors and textures can become a vague mush. Stick to two or three. I also opted for a “country-style” omelet, which in reality is scrambled eggs. On my next visit, I may order the traditional South Jersey omelet that contains slices of pork roll. (Yes, pork roll is my region’s specialty.)
Or the Kielbuster—what’s the harm of a little sausage gravy?