The Sleepy Bee, Cincinnati – 12.31.14

The Sleepy Bee Cafe

Location: The Sleepy Bee Cafe, Madison Road, Cincinnati
Order: “Fried eggs, over medium”
Egg Rating: 2/5
Meal Rating: 2.5/5

New Year’s Eve breakfast with a couple of friends at one of the best breakfast places in Cincinnati, The Sleepy Bee Cafe.  Or at least that’s what one might think.

When the Sleepy Bee opened a year or so ago, I was overjoyed. A brand new breakfast place! Hardly a mile from my house! With a great menu, fantastic vegetarian options, and a strong farm-to-table ethos!  What could go wrong?

Well, I’ve been disappointed. It’s largely a problem of being too good for their own good. Or something. The place is hugely popular, therefore the wait for a table is generally 30+ minutes, even at reasonable times, not to mention the 1-2 hour waits on busy weekends. And whether it’s related or not…the quality has suffered over time. The potatoes are often lukewarm and hard, the food takes far too long to come out, and the service is increasingly poor.  And the eggs? Well, we’ll get to that. I want this place to succeed. But every time I go, I remind myself that I’d decided not to come back.

Okay, this is an egg blog, not (necessarily) a restaurant review blog. Although it remains my assertion that one can judge the overall quality of a restaurant by their simple ability to cook an egg to order, and in my case that’s always an Over Medium Egg.

The order was simple – the “Worker Bee” – with vegan sausage (questionable), multigrain Shadeau Bakery toast, and eggs over medium.

The Sleepy Bee Cafe - Fried Eggs1

The order came quickly – and the server was excellent. Very helpful but not overly wordy. We were actually having a work meeting and she was careful to help where she could, offering recommendations if we wanted them, but not assuming we did. Nice balance.

The Sleepy Bee Cafe - Fried Eggs2

The eggs looked okay. Cooked on both sides, apparently even. Less done than I’d like, but at least not over-easy. Cutting into the first, there was too much yolk on the plate, but at least the white was cooked through. Or so I thought.

The Sleepy Bee Cafe - Fried Eggs3

Cutting into the second egg, the white was runny and gross. Probably fine for an over-easy order, but not for over-medium. It’s honestly disappointing for a place like this not to be able to get this right. You differ on the done-ness of the yolk? Fine. But the white should be cooked. This is just gross. You have warnings on your menus about “consuming under-cooked fish, eggs, etc” being potentially hazardous to my health, but when I order my eggs actually done, you serve them undercooked.

It ain’t rocket science, but it is a standard. Sorry Sleepy Bee…I wanted to love you. But I don’t.