I’ve heard people complain that Bellevue is too quiet. Perhaps they haven’t hung out at Lincoln Square around 7 pm. Or perhaps they haven’t eaten at the Brief Encounter Cafe. You won’t notice it after you exit 520 from Seattle and head down Bellevue Way, but you will notice the QFC and gas station in the strip mall on your left as you head south towards Bellevue Square. Tucked away behind the gas station is a tasty Bellevue secret.
It’s hard to tell who’s a server and who’s a customer; although it does seem that more customers wear sweatshirts, sandals and pajama bottoms than the staff here.
Remember to sign the book when you enter or else you’ll never get called, but once you do, your waitress will appear super quick at your table with fresh, hot coffee and ready to take your breakfast or lunch order.
On a typical rainy Seattle Sunday morning, I went to the Brief Encounter with my Dad. Apparently everyone else in Bellevue had the same idea; the place was packed mostly with parents and their young children. Although we had to wait about 15 minutes, once we were seated we were instantly served coffee by a friendly waitress eager to take our order and equally eager to make us feel at home.
Dad went with the special Italian omelet served with a side of hash browns. He mentioned that his hash browns were a little burnt and as you can tell from the picture, he was right.
I went with the classic Eggs Benedict; two poached eggs, topped with Hollandaise sauce, thick grilled ham and resting on top of English muffins. Working in kitchens, I’ve heard some scary things about Hollandaise sauce which I won’t repeat, but I can tell you that the sauce here was soft and creamy, and not thick and lumpy. It mixed very nicely with the broken yokes. My hash browns, unlike Dad’s were not burnt.
Although I wasn’t blown away by the food at the Brief Encounter Café, I really like the fact that this is a real neighborhood operation, run by people who genuinely want you to drop by and enjoy a leisurely breakfast or lunch. The food is humble yet hearty and comforting. There is no pretense here, and that alone is worth becoming a loyal customer of the Brief Encounter Café.