Alfalfa (Facebook / @AlfalfaDining)
141 E. Main St. (map it!)
Lexington, KY 40507
Open Mon-Fri, 11a-2p, Sat & Sun 9a-2p; also Wed-Sat, 5:30-9p (bfast specials served w/lunch; brunch served Sat & Sun)
Accepts cash & credit/debit
Vegetarian/vegan/gluten free? Y/Y/N
Date of Visit: Sunday, March 11, 2012 at 9:30 a.m.
IMPRESSIONS: Having been to Alfalfa once before for dinner, we’ve been excited to return for breakfast on a recent trip to Lexington, KY. Alfalfa is my kind of place: urban setting, colorful decor mixed with old building elements like exposed brick, eclectic menu catering to a variety of tastes. And it’s right in the heart of beautiful downtown Lexington.
ATMOSPHERE: We met with some friends on a fairly busy Sunday morning, but they had no trouble fitting in our group of nine. The space is in a rough U-shape, curved around a thin wall that clearly houses a stairway going up to the next floor. The entryway is thin, but there are a few tables grouped toward the front. The center of the space has a long bar and serving area, and then the bulk of the seating curves around down the right side. Near the host stand, a set of doors opens into the lobby of the Downtown Arts Center, with a theatre and galleries. How handy to have the two connected!
There’s lots of bright, natural light from the front windows. Plenty of seating. Artwork on the brick walls. Very comfortable.
FOOD: The food is a big hit, too. Again, something for everyone. First, the breakfast burrito with a side of cheesy grits (you’re in Kentucky – get the grits, of course!)
The specialty of the house is the buttermilk blueberry buckwheat pancakes. Served with real maple syrup. Above is a smaller portion that comes as a “side” with a larger meal.
This is the typical plate-sized portion of the blueberry buckwheat pancake. It’s one of the better pancakes I’ve had in recent memory. The buckwheat keeps it from being too sweet, which offsets the tart blueberries and the maple syrup.
And the eggs benedict arnold: an eggs benedict on wheat toast with city ham (as opposed to country ham, I’m guessing?) and avocado slices. Topped with tomatoes. Overall, a very tasty benedict. Not the best I’ve had, but it makes you realize that avocados deserve to be in nearly every dish, especially benedicts.
SERVICE: Our one dedicated server did a fine job. Even on a busy morning, with a fairly big group, he handled all the details of drinks and orders very well, and all with a smile. I’ve been to some places similar to Alfalfa where customers can get the impression that the servers are a little “snooty” or “hipster-ish,” but that was certainly not the case here.
OVERALL: Alfalfa is a very worthy stop on a Lexington breakfast tour. In fact, I’d make it one of my top one or two stops, along with Doodle’s. The atmosphere and restaurant is colorful and well-connected to the surrounding neighborhood. The menu offers a wide enough variety to please everyone, including some creative vegan options. And it’s easy to get behind their focus on using local eggs and produce. (Columbus readers: if you’re in Lexington and nostalgic for Northstar Cafe, hit up Alfalfa.)