Belgian waffle (Charles Toeppe)

BY EMMA SLONINA, Staff Columnist

I rarely go out for breakfast. If I do, it’s usually to Big Boy or a Coney Island (Yes! I eat at “normal” places, too!). So it’s always nice to find somewhere that does breakfast as well as lunch and dinner, and even better to find somewhere just doing breakfast, brunch, and a little lunch.

I also love making an event of eating out, so taking a trip into downtown Detroit was just fine by me to get breakfast at the Hudson Café. Located across from the old Hudson’s building, this sunny, spacious, yet cozy café is modern in décor and in taste. The lounge-like seating mixed with clean, simple dining tables screams youth. The menu is the textbook example of “classic brunch with a modern twist.”

A cheerful, tattooed waitress handed us large cardstock menus. My boyfriend ordered freshly-squeezed orange juice and I had hot cocoa. He managed not to offer me a sip of his juice until the end of the meal when he had only a slurp left; tasting it, I understood why. I’m not a fan of orange juice because it is usually so far removed from the fresh, bright taste of oranges, but this was literally freshly-squeezed. It wasn’t just juice, but oil and essence and the natural balance of water and juice found in the orange, not some arbitrary amount thrown into concentrate.

I had already snuck a peak at the menu online (as usual) but I still deliberated between several of the different versions of Eggs Benedict. Initially, I wasn’t sure if I’d be in the mood for sweet or savory that morning, so I didn’t make any hard and fast decisions beforehand. But Eggs Benedict it was. I went for the “Voodoo” with a side of the house potatoes. My boyfriend went for the plain Belgian waffle, bless his soul.

Voodoo eggs Benedict (Charles Toeppe)

The portions were huge, always nice to see. Two corn cakes topped with two poached eggs and cheese and chorizo, plus probably two potatoes’ worth of house potatoes. It was superbly balanced – sweet, salty, spicy, a little sour – and steaming hot. Charlie’s waffle took up the entire plate, and he ordered a side of fruit that was more of a meal than a side.

There are so many other unique items on the menu that I would have to go back and try more. At least two other Eggs Benedict styles caught my eye – the “Eggsparagus” and the pulled pork version – and their pancakes look to-die-for. They have red velvet pancakes. Red velvet. And Chunky Monkey, full of white chocolate chips, banana, and topped with caramel. Had I been in the mood for sweets, there would have been no stopping me.

Those I’ve talked to who frequent the café have only ever mentioned breakfast there, but they do have a lunch menu as well. They have a dozen sandwiches and salads which all look delicious. They all follow the “modern twist” rule, taking simple foods and elevating them to something fancy.

Giant "side" fruit bowl (Charles Toeppe)

And with fancy food comes fancy prices. $25 for breakfast for two is a little much, but to be expected from a small café trying to make its way in the big city. I’d be happier to pay that for lunch instead. It did keep me full all day until dinner, though, which helps it pass my affordability test. It was technically like getting a lunch as well.

The Hudson Café is located on Woodward in downtown Detroit. Open every day for breakfast and lunch. Contact 313-237-1000 or visit hudson-cafe.com for more information.