The Ultimate: Eggs Benedict

CODA breaks with tradition, serving the brunch staple with thick-cut ham and spinach.

The Ultimate Eggs Benedict

Photograph by Béatrice Peltre

Call us purists: Where eggs Benedict is concerned, we generally prefer our eggs poached, our bacon Canadian, and our muffins English. CODA breaks with tradition, serving the brunch staple with thick-cut ham and spinach — spinach! — on toasted sourdough. We wanted to hate it, but oh, those flawlessly cooked farm eggs! And the lemony smoothness of chef Charlie Redd’s hollandaise put all others to shame. The clincher? The crispy-chewy toast, which proved perfect for sopping up every last salty, buttery bite. 329 Columbus Ave., Boston, 617-536-2632,

UpStairs on the Square ****
The eggs had wonderfully rich, golden yolks, but combined with a too-buttery tarragon hollandaise, a griddled muffin, and scant lemon flavor, they felt unnecessarily heavy. 91 Winthrop St., Cambridge, 617-864-1933,

The Friendly Toast ***1/2
Here, the Benedict is served diner-style, with lots of thick, gloppy, Crayola-yellow hollandaise spiked with spicy cayenne. Smoky Virginia ham added lots of flavor, but overwhelmed the eggs and English muffin. One Kendall Square, Cambridge, 617-621-1200,

Garden at the Cellar ***
It boasted a smooth sauce flecked with herbs and a great English muffin, but the egg was a little too soft-cooked. And the off-tasting speck was a disappointing substitute for Canadian bacon. 991 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617-230-5880,

Stella **1/2
Despite an excellent English muffin, perfectly poached eggs, and hearty accompaniments (an arugula salad and crispy home fries), this Benny’s hollandaise sauce was broken and clumpy. 1525 Washington St., Boston, 617-247-7747,

Clink **
A big, spongy English muffin — perhaps too big — made the thin ham slices seem dinky. Unevenly cooked eggs and a flavorless hollandaise were entirely ho-hum. 215 Charles St., Boston, 617-224-4004,

North 26 *1/2
It would’ve won points for its homestyle English muffin, had it not been a mushy mess. The eggs, on the other hand, were way overcooked, with barely any runny yolk. 26 North St., Boston, 617-557-3640,