Monday, January 30, 2012

Beverly's La Croisette
St. Pete Beach, Florida

The name sounds a bit too French and uppity for my taste, but Beverly’s La Croisette in St. Pete Beach actually offers classic American fare in cozy surroundings. Located toward the north end of the beach where Corey Avenue meets Gulf Boulevard, the little restaurant behind a pink stucco fa├žade serves only breakfast and lunch, from 6:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. everyday except Christmas.

We arrive early on a Friday afternoon to a crowd of diners feasting on platters of eggs and potatoes, on over-stuffed sandwiches, on pancakes as wide as Frisbees.

A dozen booths line the perimeter windows, while a row of tables runs down the center of the dining room. Seating is limited to about 60, and regulars here assure us that on weekends, the line of waiting customers extends out the door and down the block.

We select a comfortable booth near the entrance and overlooking Corey Avenue. A huge fan of breakfast, I disregard the lunch options in favor of my beloved bacon and eggs, a bargain here at $4.90, and even less for those early birds who arrive before 11:30 a.m.

Served on a big round platter, breakfast includes three strips of crisp, flavorful bacon, a pair of perfectly fried eggs minus the greasy film typical of many breakfast joints, home fries, and toast. About the size of chunked pineapple, the reddish brown home fries have a crusty surface, a warm and soft center, and a peppery flavor.

I bypass the pre-packaged jam in favor of Beverly’s homemade marmalade. The orange marmalade tastes predictably tart and sweet atop my finely toasted rye. But the pear marmalade, with its resemblance to high quality applesauce, is the real winner here. I slather spoonfuls of the spread on my toast and enjoy a little extra a-la-carte.

Over our third cups of the excellent coffee, we share a pancake for dessert. Grilled until slightly crisp, but moist in the center, the flapjack tastes mildly sweet. The American restaurant with the French name does serve croissants, but we reserve those for another visit.

Dressed in tee shirts and shorts to suit the casual atmosphere, the waitresses provide attentive and friendly service.

During every trip, I search for a restaurant that far exceeds ordinary. On this trip, Beverly’s La Croisette earns the distinction. I expect she will have several more opportunities to uphold her honor.

from 2007