T.G.I. Friday's Weekend Breakfast Menu - Not Just Ordinary Pancakes & Eggs
Restaurant Review by Ken Stewart, The Guam Food Guy
There's been a long-standing wish for an American-style breakfast eatery in the heart of Tumon and it appears that T.G.I. Friday's is one of the first to officially "plate up"! For over 20 years there's been an ongoing discussion of where to put a King's, Denny's or IHop, however a decision was never made on the best location, whether it would be free-standing or part of a hotel. A number of years ago, McDonald's established a location serving an American breakfast menu, but it's really a QSR (quick service restaurant - which is new speak for fast-food) so it's not the same category.
I received a notice that Friday's was going to launch this new weekend-only breakfast menu and happened to meet two members of the kitchen team who suggested I try it. We did, and determined that the menu was worth trying, however, we would certainly order different items on a future visit. We also realized that many people on Guam probably prefer going to King's, Denny's, Shirley's, Jan Z's, or to any hotel's Sunday brunch, based on local eating habits. What Friday's doesn't have is SPAM, nor Tapas, Portuguese Sausage, or Bangus (milkfish). These are local eats - definitely something that even big chains like McDonald's have seen fit to include on their menu in one way or another. They also don't have Eggs Benedict, which is in demand as well.
In Friday's defense, though, their menu is genuinely American (if you pardon the inclusion of "French" Toast, which we can always claim we've naturalized!), and they serve breakfast on both Saturday and Sunday, from 8am-Noon. Moreover, Friday's Breakfast Menu is more upscale and eclectic than what you'd expect, serving a pancake that's literally a cake and not the griddled "flap jacks" of which so many of us are enamored. Friday's has also brought out a family of yogurt and fruit concoctions made with granola to appeal to the more health-conscious appetites. And, as we were to discover, even the venerable omelet has been re-invented by Friday's.
One of the first things you see when opening the Friday's breakfast menu is the Breakfast Bar, which has specialty beverages, fruit juices, and sodas. We picked two of four specialty drinks, the Good Morning America and the November Seabreeze, both $3.50. The Good Morning America is a yogurt drink that's "perfected with a mixture of Pina Colada Mix (non-alcoholic) and Strawberry puree"), and the November Seabreeze is a super-tart "refreshing mixture of Cranberry and Apple juices with Lime and a splash of Soda". I liked the yogurt drink, since I'm a smoothie lover. It wasn't a smoothie as it wasn't made with ice to cool it down. It was thick, creamy, and yogurty with a strawberry/coconut twist. We also ordered coffee - regular and not espresso beverages - and I was impressed with the strength of the fresh brewed coffee.
We finally decided on the Praline Pecan Pancakes ($7.50) from their Breakfast Delight's section, which also listed a few waffle variations and an alluring Apple French Toast ($7.75) that I'll try on my next visit, and the Friday's All American Breakfast ($8.50), that had two eggs any style, with a choice of sausage or bacon (she chose sausage), and toast & hashed browns. My partner wanted her eggs folded over with cheese inside something off menu which they accommodated - that's one great thing about Friday's, they take care of customers. I asked to have bacon on the side and the menu side order chart for the extras priced it at $0.75. The three pieces I got were good and meaty, and of a superior quality to higher priced side orders of bacon at other restaurants.
My Praline Pecan Pancakes were two thick wedge slices of cake. They were literally "pan cakes", baked in the oven like German pancakes. The praline pecans were baked in the cake's bottom and I cut pieces with my fork and dipped them in the syrup ramekin on my plate. These were unusual, and honestly, I prefer the flap jack griddle cakes. It's psychological, since I'm conditioned to the common hot cakes. For my tastes, these would have been better served with ice cream or whipped cream, more as a dessert.
I needed one more dish to try, so I ordered a "Name Your Own Omelet", choosing Green Onions, Ham, and Colby Cheese ($7.50 for 3 toppings, with each additional topping at $0.50). I had discussed menu items earlier with our server, Erik, who said their omelets are different that the folded over type, in that they put the toppings in just before the egg mix is done in the pan, so that the onions & veggies cook and the cheese melts atop the omelet. The presentation was impressive, with the eggs centered in a white bowl with its wide rims garnished by parsley flakes. At the heart of the omelet was a pile of chopped (and very tasty) ham and green onions. The cheese had melted liberally just beneath. I put some Tabasco on my omelet and really enjoyed it.
The menu had a photo of another omelet, called the Southwestern Tabasco Omelet ($8.95), which looked like it was prepared with more ingredients and shaped in a halved square with tortilla strips layered over the top. This will be yet another entry in my list to try later dishes. Consistent with doing things a bit differently than other eateries, Friday's breakfast menu also includes a towering Breakfast Club Sandwich ($9.95), Bagels and Philadelphia Cream Cheese ($4.50, Plain, Onion, Cinnamon, and Blueberry), a family of Waffles ($7.50), with whipped cream and one topping choice(Strawberry, Raspberry, Pineapple, Peaches, Banana, and Fruit Medley, additional toppings are $0.75 each), and Breakfast Potato Skins ($9.95), a huge platter full of stuffed skins with sour cream, guacamole, and salsa, seeming more like something one would eat after a late night binge.
On a healthier note, a trio of Fruity Yogurts (one topping, $5.75), are served in appealing martini glasses, and are made by combining plain yogurt with granola and either a banana, strawberry or raspberry topping. The ultimate in health is the Fresh Fruit Medley ($6.75), served in a large, globe-shaped glass with loads of fresh fruit. There is a Kid's Menu, too, that includes Cinnamon Sugar Chips with Apple Dip ($3.95), Kid's French Toast - $6.25, Silver Dollar Pancakes ($5.25), and Scrambled Eggs with Bacon or Sausage ($5.25).
T.G.I.Friday's Breakfast Menu is a well-conceived effort to create their own style of "American" breakfast entrees, which differentiates them from other mainstream eateries. These meals are portioned to provide diners with just enough food so that they won't have that "over-stuffed" feeling one gets from the all-you-can eat buffets and sprawling Sunday brunches, or from over-sized scoops of fried rice. Though the prices are higher than "similar" items (an omelet is an omelet is an omelet), their stylized proprietary interpretations makes their entrees into signature dishes. For atmosphere, service, and food quality, as well as to appease one's desires for new dining adventures, I recommend you try Friday's Saturday & Sunday Breakfast Menu.