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Brunch - I only have one shot!

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Hi everyone!

Basically, my fiancee is coming to visit me in New York in 3 weeks.

1. This is our first time seeing each other in 5 months
2. She's never been to New York before
3. We're both huge foodies, and love brunches.

We have ONE chance for a Saturday or Sunday brunch. What do you guys recommend? We can go anywhere in Manhattan or Brooklyn (but not too far deep, we don't want to spend the whole day on the subway). NO preferences for cuisine, prices... Basically, I'm just looking for a place that you'd say "Oh, it's your first time in NY and you're a foodie? Go to ___ for brunch!"

Prune? Clinton St. Baking Company? 202?

Thanks!

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  1. Prune Clinton
    St. Baking Co.
    Cookshop
    Five Points
    Applewood (Park Slope)

    5 Replies
    1. re: CornflakeGirl

      Balthazar

      1. re: bronwen

        Ditto on Prune, Clinton St., Cookshop, Five Points, and Balthazar.

        Prune is quirky and homey.
        Clinton St. is comfort food, also very homey. Get the blueberry pancakes (not banana) and a Breakfast Sandwich with bacon.
        Cookshop is an ode to local ingredients and does great things with pork.
        Five Points is more relaxed, a little more upscale, also does great things with pork. And they have churros.
        Balthazar is loud, bustling, and a French brasserie. Great bread basket.

        You can't go wrong with any of these. Cookshop and Five Points do reservations (phone, opentable.com). Balthazar you can only reserve via phone.

        See my brunch cheatsheet:
        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/445794

        1. re: kathryn

          kathryn - love your cheatsheet, thanks for posting the link. We agree on Shopsin's slutty pancakes and Sarabeth's (several locations - Chelsea Market location is small but can be fun if you want to explore the shops/market). I'm not a big Pastis/Balthazar/Artisanal fan. Lively is fun but noisy turns me off when I'm not dining alone. IMO Clinton Street is not homey or cozy.

          1. re: financialdistrictresident

            I prefer Balthazar over Pastis, actually, because of the location and atmosphere (less...hip than Pastis) but Pastis has outdoor seating, which is nice if you want to show people the Meatpacking District/West Village area in the day time.

            I think Clinton Street is pretty homey given the fare, although not as homey as, say Prune. And it's pretty cozy, as those tables are close together!

            1. re: kathryn

              I agree, Balthazar over meatpacking district any given day . . . It's been so long since I went to both. I guess a place like Jack's Coffee (Front Street location) or Danal (wish they'd lose the cat, health dept. wouldn't like it either!) is what I think of when homey or cozy comes to mind. I must try Prune, but I don't like overly close seating.

    2. I agree with Cornflake Girl's suggestions, but I'm fairly certain that Prune and Clinton St. don't take reservations. While nothing says brunch in New York like standing around on a sidewalk in the cold, starving to death, sometimes out-of-towners don't see the attraction. Go figure.

      1. I finally went to Clinton Street Baking for the first time on a weekday (no queue). It was v. good (3 large, light and fluffy banana nut pancakes, coffee, tip & tax around $15 U.S.). There isn't much ambience, it's basically a diner. Not a place I would wait in line for, though the blueberry pancakes are supposed to be very good. Not sure why everyone seems to love this place so much (the ingredients are fresh and not "processed"). If I spend $20 on breakfast I'd rather have a brunch deal that includes a cocktail OR bagel/bialy and nova (ess-a-bagel or kossar's/Russ & Daughters). Also the slutty pancakes at Shopsin's (even less ambience than Clinton and the place is equally pricey) are delicious and different. To each their own, I guess. By the way, Clinton only takes cash.

        1 Reply
        1. re: financialdistrictresident

          Completely agree with that, FDR.

        2. Yes, definitely pick one that takes reservations. You might see if you can get a table at Perilla. Dinner there is excellent and festive, and the brunch prices look very reasonable.

          1. I know Norma's in the Parker Meridien hotel is considered a breakfast-all-day spot, but I am not sure why it cannot be considered for your brunch outing. They have a wonderfully creative menu with some of the highlights being 5 different types of eggs benedict. I have loved their huevos rancheros and their shrimp frittata. Although pricey, I think it is an absolutely worthwhile experience.
            Also, Kitchenette has a very inventive brunch menu. They have great staples like their tuna melt accented with dill but they also have yummy egg dishes that come with various sides like corn bread or hashbrowns. They always have a cocktail special and their margarita is surprisingly excellent. I have only been to the uptown location but I heard the Tribeca location is pretty great as well. Don't forget to try the desserts!

            1 Reply
            1. re: izzyeatsny

              I would not go to Norma's if you are first and foremost a foodie. The other recommendations (Prune, Balthazar, Cookshop, Five Points, Clinton St. Baking Co.) have FAR better food.

            2. Jane!

              Great food. And they take (and honor!) reservations. Brunch is a blood sport in this city and waiting 1 hour for a table is common. Go to a place that honors reservations: JANE.

              And then walk off your food in Greenwich Village....

              1 Reply
              1. re: NAtiveNewYorker

                Second Jane. I like their Benedict Johnny (chicken sausage on corn cakes, mmm). They only offer their brunch menu on Sundays though.

                I know you were thinking of 202, but I really wouldn't go there if it's your one shot at brunch over the weekend. Some people like the food, but I really couldn't remember what we had because the service was so god-awful. Fifteen minutes to get water, 10 more to get our menu, you know how it goes....

                Another option could be dim sum.

                Have fun with the SO!

              2. Pastis

                2 Replies
                1. re: kcijones001

                  Warning: Tough to get in.

                  1. re: NAtiveNewYorker

                    They take reservations and you don't need to call too far in advance...

                2. I like Eleven Madison for brunch. Service and decor is nice too.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: G3B

                    I knew someone would mention it at some point. :-)
                    My vote goes to Little Owl, or for something more under-the-radar, Nook.

                  2. I like prune the best. If you go get there early because there is usually a wait

                    1. Try, Harold's and Top Chef winner's Perilla. Tasty!

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