If you go
› Where: First Watch, 1825 Gunbarrel Road
› Hours: 7 a.m.-2:30 p.m. daily
› Prices: $5.19-$12.99
› Phone: 423-498-9955
› Online: www.firstwatch.com
EDITOR'S NOTE: Times Free Press staff writers continue a series of articles on their favorite places to go for breakfast as well as some breakfast offerings with which you might not be familiar.
If you know nautical lingo, then you know that first watch is the first shift of the day — the breakfast hour. Building on that seafaring theme, First Watch restaurant has added a crab-filled omelet to its seasonal menu.
First Watch on Gunbarrel Road is a two-room eatery — seating maybe 100 at the most — with farmhouse decor: gray walls, barnwood tabletops, wood plank floor and barnwood mural with a train engine, bridge and other signature scenes of Chattanooga mounted on a wall in the main dining area.
In addition to the Gunbarrel Road location, there are First Watch restaurants in Hixson, 5207 Highway 153, and in the North Shore, 300 Cherokee Blvd., Suite 130.
First Watch's menu is pretty straightforward with entrees listed by categories: The Healthier Side, From the Griddle, Egg-Sclusives, Omelets and Frittatas, Power Bowls, Salads, Sandwiches, Small Plates and Kids.
I noticed prices had gone up slightly since my last visit; one of First Watch's plate-size pancakes was $4.79; now it's $5.19. French toast was $7.79; now it's $9.39.
There are seven choices under The Healthier Side category, ranging from $7.99 for oatmeal to $10.39 for avocado toast. Quinoa bowls are $9.69. Omelets are priced from $9.99 to $11.49 — except the new Summer Crab Omelet, which is $12.99.
When I saw that on the menu, my inner beach bum practically shouted, "Yes, please!"
New seasonal menu items in addition to the Summer Crab Omelet are Million Dollar Bacon (four slices of hardwood-smoked bacon baked with brown sugar), Cornbread Carnitas Bowl (pork carnitas and grilled cornbread topped with two poached eggs, black beans, cheese and avocado), Triple Berry Acai Bowl (Sambazon acai topped with berries and granola) and Summer Blush (a cooling drink made with watermelon, pineapple, Fuji apples, lemon, sugar and mint).
The Summer Crab Omelet is a large, fluffy omelet stuffed with shredded crab, roasted corn, chopped red peppers, Jack cheese and scallions. It's topped with a generous ladle of hollandaise over which Cholula hot sauce is drizzled.
I immediately flipped open the omelet to see how much crab was incorporated, and First Watch didn't skimp. The hollandaise-crab combo made each bite feel decadent while the Cholula gave it bite, an immediate spiciness leading into the taste of melted Jack cheese and silky hollandaise.
I ordered the Summer Crab Omelet thinking the flavors might take me to the beach. But it wasn't the Florida Panhandle I was transported to, more like Gulf beaches near the Tex-Mex border due to the flavors of roasted corn and peppers with the chili-based hot sauce. Still, it's a winner.
The omelet is served with buttered whole-grain toast, strawberry preserves and a side of greens dressed in a lemon vinaigrette. The greens were just a plate filler, in my opinion. The lemon dressing did not complement the flavors of the omelet in any way, instead skewing them so badly that I couldn't eat the greens.
Excellent, no room for complaints at all.
Paying $13 for an omelet does strike me as fairly pricey, but the size of the serving, along with the amount of crab it included, justified that price to my way of thinking. I know I'll be back for another. It's a taste of the shore without leaving East Brainerd.
Contact Susan Pierce at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6284.