The Yolk Café

New London, CT

  • Having a party?

  • We cater it all!

  • Tell us what you’re looking for or let us take care of it for you. Call us at (860) 437-0898 and we will set up an out-of-this-world food extravaganza (catering event) for you!

  • Cuisine

  • Spectacular breakfast and lunch diner fare with some creative sprinkles and off-the-beaten-path sides.

  • Atmosphere

  • Located in the much-loved spot once occupied by Jack’s Place, the Yolk retains the same configuration, though the new crew has substantially cleaned the restaurant and applied new paint. It’s cozy in the winter months —but very congenial and friendly, and the al fresco tables will of course open with the coming of spring. The whole spirit of the place is joyful and fun.

    Note: we’re very kid-happy. But that’s part of the magic of such places.

  • Service

  • As handled by a pit crew of interdependent and happy-to-help-any-situation waitresses, service at the Brok’n Yoke is very quick and efficient.

    Reservations Required: No.
    Credit cards: Yes, and there’s an ATM machine on site if you prefer.

  • Open 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
    Tuesday through Sunday; closed Mondays.
    Handicapped access: Easy to get in or out in terms of curbs or steps.

  • Catering Menu coming Soon!

  • A Review from one of our gracious customers…
    I just stormed out of fourth-floor conference room here at The Day. All the honchos were there. Why am I miffed?
    Because they issued an across-the-board thumbs-down to my request for a special “scratch ‘n’ sniff” edition of this restaurant review. Something about “prohibitive one-time expenditure” and “you’re a peerless cretin, Koster.”
    If I’d had my way, you’d be able to bask in the redolent fumes of delicately rendered home fries, omelette’s so light they [just about] levitate, and the maple-and-butter scents teasing the more acute aromas of sausage and bacon.
    I felt it was desperately needed because, despite the fact that I own six dictionaries, a direct phone line to magical realist and adjective-meister Gabriel Garcia Marquez and the original handwritten manuscript of Roget’s Thesaurus, a “scratch ‘n’ sniff” component is the only way I feel it’s possible to do justice to the greatness awaiting you at the Brok’n Yoke Café in New London.
    You probably know the place: it’s way out toward the end of Montauk Ave. in the Sixth District, hard [attached] to a liquor store and just a few short blocks before you run into Long Island Sound. For years, it was the site of the renowned Jack’s Place. After Jack’s owner Joe Caulfield retired, Klemens Zachhuber opened the original Brok’n Yoke — a fine place in its own right for a few years — and now a new outfit, headed up by owner Doreen Brett, has taken the reins.
    She’s kept the name but it’s definitely a separate entity. The newby took some time to scrub the place down, apply fresh paint and, conceptually, refine without abandoning the basic diner-style menu of both predecessors in the time-honored tradition of providing filling, delicious and in-expensive breakfasts and lunches.

    The Yolk is anchored around a central, open kitchen area that bumps up against the front windows and resembles photos I’ve seen of the Merrimac. Surrounding the kitchen on three sides is a U-shaped bar counter with vinyl stools, and lining the back wall is a series of high-backed wooden booths. The walls feature framed New London High paraphernalia, blackboard specials, and high-shelved stereo speakers playing satellite radio.
    There are house specials at both lunch and breakfast. For morning fun — and breakfast is always served — such anticipated staples as eggs benedict ($9) and a country breakfast (one of those lumberjack-y concepts where they basically throw everything “hearty” onto a plate, $7.50), as well as eggs in a window (two eggs baked inside French toast, $6.50) and a stuffed croissant with scrambled eggs, tomatoes, scallions, smoked salmon and cream cheese providing the filling ($9).
    In addition, egg and pancake combo platters are options, and the Yolk features an enormous list of sides ($1.50 to $3) ranging from muffins and specialty toast to andouille sausage, baked beans and — take note vegetable people — soy sausages.
    And there are multitudinous three-egg omelet possibilities ($7.50 with potatoes and toast) wherein diners can mix and match any of three from litanies of meats, cheeses and veggies.
    On recent visits, my wife (“My Wife”) and I have had lots of food to shore up those holiday mornings. Once, I just did one of those “toss darts and see what happens” things from the sides menu and ended up with Canadian bacon, scrambled eggs and rye toast. I got six seashell-sized slices of smoky flavored and ultra-lean CB, four slices of butter-slathered light rye, and perfectly firm but light eggs.
    My Wife speaks in tongues when she describes an omelet with Swiss cheese, soy sausage and home fries. Oh, and wheat toast. The bread seemed to be on the gourmet side, not a store-bought afterthought, which she decreed was “nice.” (That part wasn’t “tongues,” by the way, but is a real word.) She was also happy to have the faux meat option and lauded the entire dish for flavor and for not swimming in grease.
    On a lunch drop-by, she tried the stuffed veggie panini ($7.50). It wasn’t a true panini in that the entire sandwich wasn’t pressed to the grill; just the bottom half was grilled while the top half survived as a buttery, flaky roll. No worries. It held zucchini and yellow squash, tons of chopped red onions, sliced tomato and romaine lettuce (not just iceberg). A nice Caesar dressing accompanied, but it was very tasty without it. She also tried a side of tri-colored fusilli pasta salad with black olives and tomatoes lightly tossed with a tangy vinaigrette. Very fine.
    As for me, fondly recalling the days of the Jack’s burgers, which required their own zip codes, I tried a half-pound cheeseburger with Swiss ($8), although the build your own sandwich/wraps board and a chicken cordon bleu sandwich ($8.50) were filed away for future consideration.
    The burger was served naked — which is to say just meat, cheese and a hard roll — but that was fine. It was a hubcap-like, freshly assembled patty, slightly peppery, with real Swiss oozing atop, and cooked juicily to order at medium rare. The fries were wondrous; they don’t have a deep fryer yet and as such they’re prepared on the griddle with onion salt and a light batter and come served in a great jackstraw pile.

    Regional

  • Reviews

    It’s tiny, and the kitchen takes up almost half the space. It’s yellow, like the orb for which it’s named. Customers line the counter and cram into barely-big-enough wooden booths; in warm weather they spill out onto picnic benches outside. It’s The Broken Yolk, long a favorite breakfast and lunch place, now under new owners (and sisters), Andrea Castleberry and Doreen Brett.

    These two ladies, driven by the fast-paced energy of short-order cookery, have made the place even better. They clearly know their trade. The quality is superior; you’d think their skills had been honed at master classes instead of on the job (for the U.S. Coast Guard, among others).

    OK, I can just hear the doubting Thomases: “It’s only breakfast. What can they do to eggs?”

    Well, the Eggs Benedict were superb, tasting so fresh they could have come from a henhouse next door. Poached eggs reappeared on a chalkboard special, served over Texas toast criss-crossed with grilled asparagus and napped with creamy, lemon-accented hollandaise sauce.

    Eggs “in a window” were baked inside griddled toast, just the way my mother used to do it. Shirred eggs, another treat, came with the whites baked separately from the yolks, topped with melting cheddar cheese and accented with tomatoes and scallions.

    On a Sunday morning, we stopped to visit our friends, Hsin-Yi and Chris, just a stone’s throw down the road from the eatery, and they advised us to try the stuffed croissant. I went for the complete package: scrambled eggs, cream cheese, tomatoes, scallions and a whopping amount of smoked salmon. It did the trick.

    Toby spied the apricot oat bran muffin, which was awarded our imaginary blue ribbon.
    Hats off to Castleberry, who baked it. This could have easily been dessert, but why wait? Regular breads come from one of the best wholesalers in Connecticut, Fabled Foods.

    Huevos rancheros at the Broken Yolk are made with delicate, thin corn pancakes (arepas) instead of the more common corn tortillas. Richard’s came arranged as a sunburst around the rim of a lime green plate. Besides the cakes, eggs, refried beans, salsa and a side of sour cream, it — like all breakfast orders — came with good home fried-potatoes.

    Three generous buttermilk pancakes, plain or ratcheted up with strawberries, blueberries or chocolate chips, make up one order. We all helped Michael down his.

    On another occasion, we enjoyed a special of pumpkin pancakes. Both were quite good, though texturally different. The buttermilk versions had a thick base, the pumpkin light and fluffy.

    My husband has been on a long culinary quest for the mythical perfect corned beef hash; almost every time it’s right out of a can, metallic-tasting and not worth the calories. Years ago, at a little breakfast joint in New Orleans, he thought he had come close. A great many forks of hash have been found wanting ever since.

    Now, hallelujah! The Broken Yolk has created a corned beef hash even better than that long ago, but now no longer lamented, version in the French Quarter. They make the whole thing, including the beef itself, from scratch. The ingredients are no secret; potatoes, mustard, horseradish, a few onions and garlic are all part of the magic. Taste it for yourself. If you like corned beef hash, my advice is to place a double order immediately, and only then look at the menu. Our only complaint was that the portion is too small for the price.

    Indeed, the hash appears to be the only small serving on the menu. Portions otherwise all seem to be quite generous.

    At our waitress’ suggestion, and since it was near lunchtime anyway, on one occasion we tried the Reuben panini sandwich. Thick cuts of tender corned beef were nestled into the grilled rye bread, along with melting Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Russian dressing. Exceptional!

    Coffee is a steady refill. The staff is warm and friendly. It’s a great way to start the day.

    Joan Gordon writes a restaurant review every Thursday in Go!. E-mail her at joanreviews@gmail.com

    IF YOU GO

    The Broken Yolk
    825 Montauk Ave., New London, 437-0898

    • Hours: 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesday-Friday, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday-Sunday.
    • Amenities: Major credit cards accepted. Wheelchair accessible. Separate children’s menu. No reservations.

    Prices: Breakfast $1.50-$9; soups, salads $2.50-$8; wraps, sandwiches $7.50-$9.

    Rating: ** (Excellent)

    In a nutshell: Really good things in a small package. Top-notch breakfasts and lunches. Don’t miss the corned beef hash, Reuben and all the egg dishes. Expect crowds during peak hours.

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