Astronomical Pancake House
Cinnamon Swirl Pancakes with Pecans and Cream Cheese Frosting
French Toast Melt – Egg & Cheese, Virginia Ham, Texas French Toast, Strawberry Jam with Grits
Royal French Toast – Two pieces of Texas French Toast dipped in pancake batter, deep fried, drizzled with Cream Cheese Glaze
Continuing a decidedly sweet day following a completely disappointing visit to Colonial Williamsburg, it was just past 1:00pm when we entered Astronomical Pancake House and with service apparently hampered by a “large group” that had just arrived suffice it to say first impressions were not the least bit favorable – a twenty-eight minute wait in the dingy lobby feeling something like purgatory considering the larger of two dining rooms sat 1/3 empty with dirty plates covering no less than five tables as servers brought out plate after plate with not a busser to be found.
Eventually seated just moments before the pre-determined thirty-minute ‘walk-out’ mark, it was much to my annoyance that the table simultaneously placed next to us was greeted with smiling service moments later by an elderly African American waitress while our young male server scurried about essentially ignoring us until I called out, and requesting to at least receive a glass of coffee or water after the long wait an attempted simultaneous order was immediately shot down with the youngster apparently “out of tickets,” another long delay to follow with neither coffee nor water arriving until after the order was finally placed…and neither refilled with any sort of gusto throughout the course of our stay.
Hoping at this point that the food would justify the hassle it was no surprise that the entirety of a large order arrived at once and immediately thankful for an empty table to be used as a sideboard it was not long before photos were taken and indulgence began, the hockey-puck hard biscuits a lone disappointment as two daily specials and the restaurant’s “signature” cinnamon swirl pancakes each proved well deserving of not only price and praise, but potentially even the wait.
Starting savory before moving to sweet it was almost as if our visit was expected when I saw the Monte Cristo-esque “French Toast Melt” on the white-board specials and loaded with briny Virginia ham, fluffy eggs, and sharp cheddar the griddled Texas Toast sandwich was quite excellent even before the addition of a layer of Strawberry jam, the same to be said of a creamy bowl of grits from which my mother partook greedily leaving me to focus on a truly ‘astronomical’ stack of buttermilk pancakes ribboned with cinnamon streusel beneath a layer of melting butter and liberally applied frosting rich with the flavor of cream cheese.
Admittedly impressed by the aforementioned sandwich and stack, it was nonetheless a “save the best for last” scenario when we finally delved into the Royal French Toast, and definitely as decadent as the description would lead one to believe batter coated French toast can most reasonably be described as a breakfast “funnel cake,” the golden shell just a touch oily while the core was wispy and light, the addition of butter, cream cheese, and just a touch of pancake syrup pushing the plate into the realm of ‘best ever’ status, though even when divided by two persons the substantial richness was a bit much…though perhaps that has something to do with ordering two additional plates of food…or the cake, pancakes, French toast, and donuts already consumed earlier that day.