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Best brunch in NY?

nyc44 Sep 28, 2007 11:37 AM

Must include an outstanding bloody mary!

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  1. k
    kathryn RE: nyc44 Sep 28, 2007 01:44 PM

    My favorites:

    French Toast -- Pastis (brioche) or Neptune Room/Jane (creme brulee battered), 9th Street Market is also very good and less indulgent. They are very generous with the fruit compote there. The Tasting Room has good french toast, too, but the focus is more on the seasonal fruit than the toast itself.

    Waffles -- Balthazar (sour cream and nuts) or Devin Tavern (oatmeal, and it comes with strawberry butter). Good Enough to Eat also has bacon IN their waffles, but I like the bacon more than the waffles there.

    Pancakes -- Clinton Street Baking Company is second to none! I love their maple butter and fresh Maine blueberries. Although Prune does a good rendition of a giant, oven-baked dutch pancake. Five Points and Sarabeth's both do a lemon ricotta pancake, if your tastes swing that way. So does Shopsin's but I think it's off the menu and Kenny grumbles if you ask for it. But if you're at Shopsin's anyway, get the slutty cakes. I keep meaning to try the pancakes at Little Owl as the place is adorable and the pancakes look so good! Oh, and Morandi does excellent crepes.

    Egg dishes -- Classic NY: eggs scrambled with lox at Barney Greengrass. More traditional? Eggs in a puff pasty at Nice Matin or Goldie Lox at Sarabeth's, or nestled a breakfast sandwich at Clinton Street Baking company, on their famous buttermilk biscuits and melty cheese and crispy bacon and excellent tomato jam. How about the truffled egg toast at 'ino? The skillet eggs at Cookshop are also quite good if you like your eggs sunny side up. I believe they are local NY state eggs. For a new take on eggs benedict, go to Blue Ribbon Bakery for the Blue Benedict with Serrano Ham, Jarlsberg, Tomato. Both Neptune Room and Devin Tavern have very good lobster benedicts. Oh, and I like the oyster omelet at Morandi.

    Bread baskets -- Balthazar (love their fruit foccacia and their chocolate bread - Pastis gets the same basket, too), Devin Tavern (excellent muffins, not so much the croissants). Blue Ribbon Bakery's is also quite good (challah!) but you might have to ask for their famous bacon bread. On the UWS, Nice Matin, Ouest (it was so good I wanted them to wrap it so I could take it home). Cafe at Country is pretty good, too, had a fabulous raspberry tart-type item. I still need to try the bread basket at Five Points.

    Drinks - Norma's, actually has fantastic, freshly squeezed OJ and free refills, basically the only thing I liked there. Jane has very good lemonade. Little Owl also has good lemonade. And if you go to Five Points, Prune, or Sarabeth's, get their custom juice blends.

    Bloody Marys -- I'm not a fan but my boyfriend likes 'em at Great Jones Cafe (spicy) and Devin Tavern (fresh tomato juice and horseradish). Devin Tavern has probably the best in town and I don't even like Bloodys! Oh, Prune has the crazy blood mary menu list for your nontraditional Bloodys -- a lot of people like the Chicago style one with a bunch of different pickled veggies. We haven't been to Essex yet but I hear they are good there too. I also like the non-traditional Bloody Jerry at Tasting Room in Nolita, which is made with mustard and red wine. Yum!

    Donuts and the like -- I like the buttermilk beignets at Cookshop, and the churros at Five Points (get them with mexican hot chocolate). Jane has good donuts on the menu was well. And I've heard Prune has great marveilles, still haven't tried them.

    Bacon -- Cookshop has this amazing house-made, double-smoked, Berkshire pork bacon that's included with one of the entrees. It's different from their regular bacon. I also like Balthazar (thin-cut and juicy), Good Enough to Eat (thick cut and a little tough but good). Clinton St. Baking Company also has pretty good bacon, as does Morandi (it's boar bacon apparently). The Tasting Room also has very good bacon from Flying Pigs Farm although I wish it were slightly less crisp.

    Big country breakfast (biscuits, gravy, eggs, etc.): I've had good ones at The Neptune Room and Devin Tavern, as well as Alias.

    Sandwiches: Prune make a mean deep-fried Monte Cristo sandwich. I also like the lobster grilled cheese at Devin Tavern -- tiny, delicate, delicious. Five Points also has an open-faced Berkshire pork sandwich which is great but their menu changes a lot. Oh, and Blue Ribbon Bakery does a great duck club sandwich with homemade waffle chips. See also aforementioned breakfast sandwich at Clinton Street Baking Co., and have heard good things about breakfast sandwich at Frankie's Sputino 17 down the street.

    Other, quirky items: Alias on the Lower East Side has goedda which everyone needs to try at least once in their life. Oh, and fried chicken and waffles. At the Cafe at Country, you can get BBQ pulled pork in grits, for a change of pace. At Prune, I like the coddled eggs and salad dish, as well as the sausages and oysters platter. At Blue Ribbon Bakery, a lot of their lunchy/appetizer items are available; we usually spring for the bone marrow.

    Here are some relevant topics:

    5 Replies
    1. re: kathryn
      kathryn RE: kathryn Nov 27, 2007 04:52 PM

      My review of Stanton Social's brunch here:
      Overall, it was fine, if overpriced, and some items are better than others, but it's inevitable given the huge menu

      More brunch discussion of spots downtown (East Village, LES):

      1. re: kathryn
        kathryn RE: kathryn Nov 28, 2007 01:02 PM

        More notes...

        Weekday brunch and breakfast spots:

        Early weekend (Saturday, Sunday) spots for breakfast and brunch:

        1. re: kathryn
          kathryn RE: kathryn Jan 17, 2008 11:00 AM

          Good for big groups:

      2. re: kathryn
        billyeats RE: kathryn Nov 27, 2007 06:54 PM

        Wow, Kathryn, that was an impressive list. I'm basically gonna use that as my NYC brunch guide from hear on out. Nicely done!

        1. re: billyeats
          kathryn RE: billyeats Nov 28, 2007 01:02 PM

          Thanks! There's tons of places I haven't gotten around to yet, so any additional intelligence is appreciated!

      3. k
        kbm RE: nyc44 Nov 3, 2007 08:08 PM

        Bloody's at The Oak Bar! 80's & 90's

        2 Replies
        1. re: kbm
          intrepid RE: kbm Nov 30, 2007 04:53 AM

          80's and 90's ??? llololol how about 60's and 70's

          1. re: intrepid
            MMRuth RE: intrepid Nov 30, 2007 04:57 AM

            And it's not open right now!

        2. LeahBaila RE: nyc44 Nov 28, 2007 06:31 AM

          My current fave is Morandi

          2 Replies
          1. re: LeahBaila
            billyeats RE: LeahBaila Nov 29, 2007 06:47 PM

            Hate to dissent, but I find Morandi to be one of the most overpriced and mediocre places around. Brunch, lunch, dinner...every meal I've had there (and I've given it three chances now) has been hugely disappointing. I can go toa slew of other places in the area with better food at better prices. Not a fan!

            1. re: billyeats
              kathryn RE: billyeats Nov 29, 2007 06:50 PM

              What did you have at brunch that was so disappointing?

          2. guttergourmet RE: nyc44 Nov 28, 2007 01:33 PM

            Aqua Grill- bloody mary and 26 (one of each) different oysters. Also like Ditch Plains for a bloody mary and an eggs benedict made with chorizo. Barney greengrass -substitute chocolate milk for the mary and sturgeon on a bagel.

            1. g
              garden RE: nyc44 Nov 29, 2007 12:14 PM

              Clinton Street for blueberry pancakes (hands down). Cafe Habana or Deborah for french toast (yes, Cafe Habana has an amazing french toast for $7 or so). Mesa Grill for buttermilk waffle (unreal!).

              1 Reply
              1. re: garden
                Mollie10013 RE: garden Nov 30, 2007 02:42 PM

                Pan Latin Cafe- BEST french-toast ever! Only on Sat & Sun!
                Bubby's- Best Bloody Marys

              2. k
                kathryn RE: nyc44 May 13, 2008 01:03 PM


                Pancakes: Still haven't found better than Clinton St. But I love that you can get mini-pancakes (silver dollar) at Stanton Social. Pretty well executed, almost but not quite Clinton St. standards. And you can get chocolate ones! Yum. They're good to share, so you don't get overloaded with a giant sugar bomb.

                Donuts, etc.: the donuts and ricotta fritters at Stanton Social are also quite good but on the heavy side. If you get one, I'd say the donuts. They're small donut holes, IIRC.

                French Toast: Perilla also does a nice version, it's not too sweet. Some like a more custardy style. Blue Ribbon Bakery also does French Toast with challah, which is good, but I think I prefer brioche style instead. (The challah is pretty damn tasty on its town though.)

                Big country style breakfast: Had some great country style eggs with chicken sausage and gravy at The Smith, which is a little bit of an unusual combination. Went great with the spicy cornbread provided. They have two "country style" dishes on the menu, I think this one is lower down under the "eggs" section.

                1. r
                  rachelz83 RE: nyc44 May 13, 2008 01:53 PM

                  Telepan has really good Fallen Pancake souffle, hazelnut cream crepes with bananas and brown sugar, and their vegetable bread soup is excellent. I recommend it!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: rachelz83
                    shivohum RE: rachelz83 May 14, 2008 08:57 AM

                    You're making my mouth water! Telepan, here I come...

                    The Vegetarian New Yorker: http://vegny.blogspot.com/

                  2. s
                    spmp RE: nyc44 May 21, 2008 08:10 PM

                    Norma's - great vibe, terrific food!

                    1. f
                      foody1964 RE: nyc44 May 21, 2008 09:33 PM

                      Gusto on Greenwich Ave.!!!!!
                      Italian French Toast
                      Poached eggs with hollandaise over spinach and grilled asparagus

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: foody1964
                        bbutts RE: foody1964 May 27, 2008 02:36 PM

                        Five Points was a joy. Just being in NYC from 5/22 to 5/25 and eating only one brunch limited my analysis. But Five Points, the martinis and bloody marys and the Egg Dishes and the Lemon Ricotta Pancakes and the wine list and the panacotta desert plus a staff that was more than pleasant causes me to recommend it highly.

                        1. re: bbutts
                          intrepid RE: bbutts May 27, 2008 06:12 PM

                          i agree with five points, also like prune

                      2. k
                        kathryn RE: nyc44 Jun 6, 2008 07:24 PM

                        Another update: The Tasting Room in Nolita has closed. RIP.

                        I managed to get myself down to Shopsin's on the LES a weekend or so ago and got an amazing concoction: scrambled eggs and bacon pancakes. Yes, scrambled eggs and bacon, pressed into the pancakes as they cooked. Great with some maple syrup and hot sauce.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: kathryn
                          kathryn RE: kathryn Jul 17, 2008 08:31 AM

                          Update: I still stand by my recommendations of Stanton Social and Clinton St. Baking Company, and also add Amy Ruth's (fried chicken and waffles):


                        2. k
                          kathryn RE: nyc44 Sep 15, 2008 08:18 AM

                          More relevant threads...

                          International Brunch:

                          Upscale brunch: Tocqueville, Telepan, Compass, David Burke & Donatella, Ouest, Perry St., Cafe Bouloud, BLT Market....

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: kathryn
                            kathryn RE: kathryn Nov 4, 2008 07:32 PM

                            Also add Dovetail.

                            1. re: kathryn
                              kathryn RE: kathryn Dec 9, 2008 12:17 PM

                              Tocqueville has stopped serving brunch (it's a lunch menu now, no breakfasty dishes).

                            2. a
                              AngelBird RE: nyc44 Sep 17, 2008 08:42 PM

                              Is Friend of a Farmer still open?
                              I'm surprised no one has mentioned it. It's AMAZING and delicious and that caramel butter thing they put on the waffles is like addictive crack! Ive never tasted such yummy goodness ever.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: AngelBird
                                kathryn RE: AngelBird Sep 17, 2008 09:06 PM

                                I went for dinner once and wasn't that impressed. What is good there? Just the caramel waffles?

                                1. re: AngelBird
                                  Lucia RE: AngelBird Sep 18, 2008 11:53 AM

                                  Still open. I've been once for brunch and wasn't really impressed.

                                2. jinet12 RE: nyc44 Sep 17, 2008 09:14 PM

                                  Most outstanding Bloody Mary in my life has been had at Mesa Grill...The bread basket alone is worth going for....I also love Norma's (don't know if they have Bloody Mary's though..in the Le Parker Meridien)....Hear that Jane has a good one, and Home does as well...both in the Village

                                  1. b
                                    buzzika RE: nyc44 Sep 18, 2008 08:52 AM

                                    Paris Commune is a great brunch. Frutattas are very good. French toast is brioche and great. But best of all is their GINGERBREAD. Soft and moist and thick and delicious, served with fresh whipped cream. That and their excellent coffee is sometimes all one needs. It's lost a bit of charm since moving to their bigger/newer digs, but the food still delivers.

                                    1. n
                                      nocaliban RE: nyc44 Sep 24, 2008 12:53 PM

                                      Great job on suggestions and thanks to Kathryn for her effort. My take from recent experience at Cafe at Country (last week). Was so strangely off that may be easier to list odd service elements. Arrived at 10:30 am with party of 5 (we 2 locals and 3 visitors). Room quarter full. Hostess sat us, gave menus, ordered coffee and wine list for 'make our own' mimosas. 10:45, no coffee as they're making new. Order bottle of cava and fresh OJ. Start to place order and waitress mentions that she'll bring us brunch menu as it starts at 11. Comes back w/ brunch menus. 10:55 I track her down as no coffee yet, no cava. 'coffee on its way, and sorry, but you can't order alcohol before noon on Sunday, so no mimosas'. Fine. Order 4 eggs benny and pancakes. Order 2 decaf. Decaf arrives cold in pot. Benny and pancakes arrive. Potato patties cool to touch and cold in center. Ask for tabasco. Hot decaf arrives. Finish breakfast. Tabasco arrives (though not sure tabasco, as comes in little creamer pitcher). Noon arrives. So we get cava, get OJ (which was excellent) combine and life getting better. Some tips for their staff: Server should avoid reaching over two people with coffee pot to pour. Busser should not collect and stack dirty plates and cutlery over an empty chair with white sweater draped on it. So net: food mediocre and badly presented. Service polite but ill-trained.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: nocaliban
                                        kathryn RE: nocaliban Sep 24, 2008 01:11 PM


                                        As for the Cafe at Country...I've avoided both the cafe and the dining room it for a while since I heard they were "reconcepting" part of the restaurant as "Country Steak."


                                      2. u
                                        UWStoSONO RE: nyc44 Dec 10, 2008 03:48 AM

                                        On the more reasonably priced scale: Arte Cafe on the UWS with unlimited drinks; Ocean Grill on the UWS was very good as well with great Irish Soda Bread.

                                        I stayed at the Greenwich Hotel last weekend in Tribeca and we had brunch at Bubby's. It's very family oriented, but the food was filling and fantastic. Just what I was looking for.

                                        1. b
                                          buzzika RE: nyc44 May 4, 2010 07:23 AM

                                          Pancakes Five Leaves in Williamsburg are incredible. Made with fresh ricotta and bananas

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: buzzika
                                            kathryn RE: buzzika May 4, 2010 08:04 AM

                                            Unfortunately, this is the Manhattan board so we're not really allowed to discuss Brooklyn restaurants, right?

                                            (Also, this thread is a little old, so I'm sure the brunch scene has changed significantly since 2008...was Five Leaves even open then?)

                                          2. e
                                            ExFlexitarian RE: nyc44 May 4, 2010 08:10 AM

                                            Belcourt has been my go-to lately. Cozy, sophisticated food made from scratch, not overly pretentious, and best of all - never an insane waits like Prune or The Smith.

                                            84 East 4th Street, New York, NY 10003

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