Is no food more polarizing than the egg?
Whether it’s because of its texture, smell, numerous ways to prepare or endless nutritional assessments, the egg consistently gets flak even though it has many fans.
Good thing the menu at Chicago-based Yolk, which recently opened a Sundance Square location, reads less like a hard-boiled treatise on the food and more like a lineup you’d see at any diner.
Detractors will take heed that this new downtown Fort Worth spot serves solid salads, sandwiches, burgers and fries, while enthusiasts will find all of the scrambles, omelets, frittatas, French toasts and Benedicts they desire.
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The space — which was previously Cowtown Diner and before that a cavernous La Madeleine — is deceptively large, with more nooks and crannies than an English muffin, yet it manages to be persistently bright and welcoming, thanks to big windows and a yellow, blue and white color scheme. Sit at the counter if you’re alone, or choose a booth or the patio — the options are as varied as the fare.
Two recent lunch visits proved that Yolk aims to please, with my guests tucking into their orders with a familiar gusto usually reserved for Mom’s meatloaf or Grandma’s gravy. From a tuna melt ($13) to challah French toast ($9), the flavors are not that surprising, but seldom do the dishes let you down.
I liked the BLTSMA ($10.50), a gratuitously named sandwich that is really a BLT plus smashed avocado. Yolk has a thing for smashing its avocados, which I can’t say I understand unless we’re talking about guacamole, but we’re not.
The sandwich, served on toasted wheat bread, is slathered with mayo and piled high with an insane amount of applewood-smoked crispy, fatty bacon.
The problem is, this is not a sandwich you can eat with your hands, due to its heft and numerous ingredients shifting and falling out. Who ever heard of eating a BLT with a fork and knife?
Another curious shirking of silverware happens when you eat the chilaquiles verdes ( $13 with chicken), thick-cut tortilla chips, topped with Monterey jack cheese, diced onion and grilled chicken.
In a departure from the traditional scrambled preparation, Yolk asks you to choose your egg style; I went with two over-easy eggs at the suggestion of my brother Al, who works across the street and had already eaten here more times than he has fingers over the course of the month-plus it has been open.
Al was right — the runny yolks dispersed gloriously over the chips and cheese, making everything soggy (but not in a terrible way) and heedless to utensils. You might want to wear a bib if you eat these while wearing 1) work clothes or 2) any clothes.
The apple blintzes ($12), three crepes folded like origami and filled with a “special cheese filling” that looked just like cottage cheese, were pleasant and counterintuitively light. Topped with sauteed cinnamon-apple slices, the dish was not too sweet, thanks to a dollop of sour cream.
Back on the lunch menu, if you can look past the boring Texas two-step of black beans and corn, the Southwestern salad ($13) is worth ordering for its Buffalo crispy chicken, chunks of well-battered chicken in a tangy am-I-in-a-sports-bar? sauce.
Speaking of questions, “Would you like coffee?” is diner (and Yolk-speak) for “Hi, how’re y’all?” and just the first of many choices to wade through during a meal.
But perhaps the appeal of Yolk lies in its all-things-to-all-people mentality.
Its diverse and inclusive menu of picture-perfect entrees — Yolk is a mini-chain with locations all over Chicago, plus Indianapolis and Dallas’ One Arts Plaza — virtually guarantees that no one will complain about coming here for an office lunch.
If only the same could be said about the egg.