The reigning Royale breakfast sandwich at Lula Cafe: buttermilk-fried soft-shell crab, sunny side up farm egg, bacon, coleslaw, pickled ramp gribiche, on a soft buttered bun (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)
A couple of weeks ago, I unexpectedly found myself staring down the soft-shell crab Royale at Lula Cafe
in Logan Square and thought: How am I going to eat this thing without looking like a scene out of Alien
It was a buttermilk-fried soft-shell crab sandwich with a sunny side up farm egg, bacon, coleslaw, pickled ramp gribiche, on a soft buttered bun—with a side of "Cajun" spiced potato chips. The Royale is the title of Lula's "breakfast sandwich series" only available during brunch, which is actually served daily.
Coffee with cream and sugar at Lula Cafe (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)
The dish is a head-turner. The kind of plate that stops conversation, all eyes follow, from kitchen, through dining room, to table, with a lingering question: How do you eat that?
So faced with the potential face-hugger, I strategized. I didn't want to deconstruct the sandwich completely. And then I attacked. I pulled off each of the meaty legs first, swiped them in the gribiche under the bun, and ate them them like fries. I then cradled the whole sandwich in my hands, bacon end first, and bit through. I anticipated soft pop of the runny yolk and slurped it like à la soup dumpling.
But I'm curious: How would you eat this sandwich? Or any of the new piled-on high American foods?
Please note that the soft-shell crab Royale will only be available at Lula through Friday. The soft-shell crab season is nearly over.
On Saturday a new Royale shall take reign.
The soft-shell crab Royale sandwich with Cajun spice chips at Lula Cafe (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)