Golden Egg Cafe
2009 E. Main St.
Ventura
641-2866
$8 – $10.95

Sullivan: The small family-owned and -operated business is run out of what appears to be a renovated single-family home on Main Street. The little yellow house was inviting, as if you were knocking on your neighbor’s door for a Sunday get-together.

As soon as I walked to the front door, the host appeared out of nowhere and asked where I wanted to sit. I would have preferred sitting on the wrap-around patio attached to the house, but the only table open was on the ground-floor level with the sidewalk next to another building that would decimate my view with a huge blue brick wall. In my decision making, I opted for efficiency over quaintness.

As soon as my respected reviewer, Paul Sisolak, joined the table, an onslaught of people came to wait on us: An older man took our drink order; then a younger man asked if we had already ordered our drinks; then a young woman asked if the drinks were coming; and once they arrived, an older woman came fast with refills of coffee.

I ordered a cup of hot chocolate, which came with a pile of dense whipped cream. Good stuff for an overcast morning.

Then came the arduous task of deciding what I wanted. Based on the three bottles of varying hot sauces, Mrs. Butterworth and pure maple syrup, I figured if I didn’t have eggs then I must have the waffles. Being that I prefer to set my mouth on fire, I opted for the eggs.

My final choice: eggs rancheros, which was two eggs (sunny-side up, preferably) atop corn tortillas doused in Spanish sauce, sides of refried beans and hash browns and a piece of banana bread. Let me say this, if I hadn’t had better, I would say this dish was pretty freakin’ good. If you like it mild and not too robust, then, yes, order the rancheros. But I like my Spanish sauce to make my mouth water, and my side of salsa (that I had to request) to make my eyes water.

As far as going back to this restaurant, well, eventually, yes, I will go back. Today or tomorrow? Probably not, only in the interest of finding the perfectly seasoned mouth-watering tear-jerking eggs. But I would highly recommend it to my friends who are super-sensitive to seasoning.

Sisolak: It was no coincidence that the clouds on this overcast Ventura Sunday parted in two, revealing a bolt of sunshine, the moment my order hit the table. There was something almost holy, almost Benedictine, about this breakfast. Of course there was, because I ordered a special version of the café’s eggs Benedict.

Most eateries barely muster up enough for their anti-carnivorous patrons, adding such meatless options to their menus almost like an afterthought (much to my consternation). The Golden Egg’s menu, however, offers so many vegetarian choices that I almost held up the order trying to decide what I wanted: a veggie burger here, another vegetable omelette there.

But I had to go with the veggie Benedict merely for its rarity in this breakfast world. In this case, it was more than just a mere substitute for its more standard Canadian bacon version.

As my fork and knife aided me in my enjoyment of this Benedict, I realized how much it defied tradition, yet remained so conventional in other ways. The English muffin lay open-faced and toasted as it should be, eggs poached to the right balance of moistness without being too runny; and a rich Hollandaise sauce.

In fact, I decided to rail against tradition myself in this case, opting for a side order of fruit with my Benedict to somehow offset the scale-tipping caloric value of the Hollandaise.

This fruit salad was equipped with the requisite watermelon, grapes and cantaloupe, of course, but the addition of banana to the mix sealed the deal for me.

What freshness I could vouch for, without a doubt, emanated from the thinly sliced avocado in the Benedict mix, along with some smatterings of salsa, chunky and with a meat-like texture. The alternatives, in this case, to the pork one would find in the Golden Egg’s regular eggs Benedict.

I welcomed this slight Mexican twist on old-fashioned diner food, and for good measure, a daub of some hot sauce only enhanced the dish’s appeal. My only gripe? That the meal, as filling as it was, seemed on the small side. But then, the brain tends to skew portion sizes when hungry stomachs take over and meals are devoured, indicators of one, and only one, thing: that the food here is good.