Memorable | One of the Best
Bette’s Oceanview Diner
Review by: Michael Stern
I tend to be skeptical about retro restaurants, diners in particular. Even if their heart is in the right place, all too often the food is not. Repeat visits to Bette’s over the years have disabused me of prejudice.
Here is a modern restaurant with classic values … and really good pancakes. I don’t only mean the special souffle pancakes, which are oven-baked, and terrific. I’m also talking about regular buttermilk pancakes, usually available in a special flavor each day; about sourdough pancakes, cottage-cheese pancakes, buckwheat cakes, and banana sour cream pancakes. Savory potato pancakes are a wonder: coarse grated and redolent of spuddy flavor, grilled to a crunch and served with extraordinary apple sauce. (Bette’s pancake prowess — and all its pancake recipes — are featured in a precious volume titled, The Pancake Handbook, available from the restaurant’s website.)
Around Christmas, the day’s pancake (and waffle) often is egg nog. Wonderful! The extra egginess is subtle, adding intangible richness to the cakes, all the better when drizzled with real maple syrup that comes alongside. An egg nog waffle is the thin-tread type, but egg nog does tend to diminish its crispness.
Bette’s breakfast goodness goes way beyond pancakes. Among highlights is some of the best scrapple I have had anywhere, including the Delaware Valley. Part of a “Philadelphia breakfast” with poached eggs, this oinky meat is made from pork butt, cornmeal, sage, and plenty of pepper. It is sliced thick enough that while the outside gets brittle, the interior still wants to melt into nothing but flavor. A “Maryland breakfast” features rugged, crisp-edged corned beef hash. The “Mexican scramble” includes house-made chorizo sausage.
When I visit, I try to arrive early in order to find a counter seat with a view of the kitchen staff at work. Beware, though, Bette’s is famous, and famously crowded. So at most normal meal times, expect to wait.
|Breakfast, Lunch, Dessert
|Credit Cards Accepted