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Looking for new brunch place downtown?

faithdog Nov 3, 2007 11:17 AM

Live on the Lower East Side and am looking for a new brunch place for tomorrow. Have tried all the usual suspects - Clinton St., Prune, etc. but am looking to try something new either in the LES or EV. Any recommendations? Thanks in advance.

  1. ChefJune Nov 4, 2007 05:26 AM

    Danal is a kitschy place on East 10th that has a lively brunch scene. Food is "pretty good," not great.

    6 Replies
    1. re: ChefJune
      financialdistrictresident Nov 4, 2007 08:27 AM

      Danal made me think of the Pink Pony (LES). I've only been there for coffee so not sure how the brunch is. It's a quaint little place.

      1. re: financialdistrictresident
        CalJack Nov 4, 2007 11:03 AM

        Pink Pony is nothing remarkable when it comes to brunch - they do a passable but uninspired job with all the standards, but I wouldn't go out of my way to eat there again. Charmingly quaint atmosphere, and friendly enough with their service (they happily poached me a new set of eggs when the yolks in my first dish came out hard), but better for coffee and a book than brunch outright.

        The jazz at Jules tends to dominate the meal in my experience, which might be a good thing considering the food was really nothing special.

        Finding a place that elevates brunch fare above standard-issue adequacy really is quite challenging. Everyone has their standby favorites, but I feel like brunch preferences often have more to do with familiarity and the company you keep than with standout food quality. My hunch is that nothing in the EV/LES can truly match the type of innovation you'll find at Prune, the hearty home-style goodness of Clinton Street Baking Co, or the harried elegance of Balthazar.

        I will say the menu at Little Giant looks promising, but I've yet to swing that way for brunch.

        1. re: CalJack
          kathryn Nov 4, 2007 11:42 AM

          I agree with you. But I must say that Five Points (pancakes, french toast, lunch-type items, not eggy stuff) comes close, as does The Tasting Room (menu changes daily though, so it's hard to recommend stuff). Belcourt also seems promising given that the chef used to work at Prune. But, hey, a small number of GREAT brunch places is better than none, and the West Village is only a short cab ride away...

          For a while I had my money on Knife + Fork until they stopped brunch service (had fantastic white asparagus with prosciutto + poached egg, as well as great croque madame) alas. And Stanton Social seems like it can be very good if you're ordering carefully. And willing to swallow that price tag.

          1. re: kathryn
            CalJack Nov 4, 2007 03:22 PM

            Haven't tried Belcourt yet, but thanks for putting it on my radar. I'll agree that Five Points and Tasting Room are both great alternatives and sure to be mobbed before too long (Five Points at least has already become a bit overwhelmed at peak times, if I'm not mistaken).

            By the way, your response to a recent "Best brunch in NY" query ought to serve as the bible for all future Manhattan brunch posts. Truly comprehensive and thoughtful. Cheers.

            1. re: CalJack
              kathryn Nov 4, 2007 07:29 PM

              Thanks, CalJack! There's still so much more I need to try...

          2. re: CalJack
            financialdistrictresident Nov 4, 2007 01:20 PM

            CalJack, thanks for your thoughts on Pink Pony. I agree Jules is nothing special other than a reasonable brunch. Despite the fans and quality, I don't feel Clinton Street Bakery is worth waiting in line for an hour.

            My best brunch/breakfast experiences have not been in NYC and were good because of the sentiments you discuss above and luckily the food quality.

      2. c
        CityFoodNY Nov 4, 2007 04:57 AM

        Try Walker's

        1 Reply
        1. re: CityFoodNY
          kathryn Nov 4, 2007 07:30 AM

          That's in Tribeca, not EV/LES.

        2. LeahBaila Nov 4, 2007 04:43 AM

          The Nolita House makes a killer brunch...best French toast can be found at The Flea Market Cafe

          2 Replies
          1. re: LeahBaila
            kathryn Nov 4, 2007 11:30 AM

            Better than Blue Ribbon Bakery, Pastis, Neptune Room, Jane, Balthazar, Five Points, or 9th Street Market? :)

            1. re: kathryn
              LeahBaila Nov 4, 2007 12:01 PM

              Believe it or not, yes...I was just as suprised as you are.

          2. financialdistrictresident Nov 3, 2007 08:13 PM

            What about Jule's? They have live jazz. Is that still the EV?

            Mole. Barrio Chino. Those maragritas can get pricey. Especially the jalapeno grapefruit ones . . .

            Also like the Good World on Orchard (LES), primarily for their hot pepper vodka martinis. Last time I went food was not good, they adjusted the bill. Time before that it was. Like the ambience (and those martinis). They have a little patio too.

            Wish I could still suggest long defunct Cafe Lika (became: One91, Heirloom, Core91, now ?) on Orchard. They had a decent, affordable brunch and a nice garden.

            1. p
              piccola Nov 3, 2007 07:52 PM

              Have you tried Mancora? It's often overlooked.

              Or, if you're into that kind of thing, try Organic Grill on 1st Ave. It's not entirely vegan, so you can get eggs - or go for the waffles or veggie burger. http://theorganicgrill.com/3.html

              1. financialdistrictresident Nov 3, 2007 02:19 PM

                I Coppi has a nice brunch and a lovely year round garden. Based on my experience service can be relaxed and a few recent reports indicated inconsistent service. That said, I've always enjoyed their brunch.

                1. k
                  kobetobiko Nov 3, 2007 01:08 PM

                  May be Shopsins? I like the hearty brunch there!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: kobetobiko
                    kathryn Nov 3, 2007 01:30 PM

                    D'oh, knew I left off something on my list. Shopsin's is closed on Sundays, BTW. Which I always forget, and then I show up and Essex St Market is closed.

                    1. re: kathryn
                      kobetobiko Nov 3, 2007 01:37 PM

                      Oh Kathryn, thanks for reminding. It is indeed closed on Sundays...

                  2. CalJack Nov 3, 2007 12:41 PM

                    Not sure what else can be included under the "etc" you've already tried, but here's where I'd start beyond CSBC and Prune in the neighborhoods you've listed:

                    9th St. Market
                    Westville East
                    Jane (closer to Noho/WV, but walkable and worthwhile)
                    Balthazar (in Soho, but you probably know that anyway)
                    Stanton Social (better with a group)
                    Cafe Brown (far LES)
                    Tasting Room (a handful of enthusiastic recommendations on this board, but I've yet to try it)

                    Tasting Room
                    264 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10012

                    100 West Houston Street, New York, NY 10012

                    Freeman Alley, New York, NY 10002

                    Brown Cafe
                    48 Hester St, New York, NY 10002

                    80 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

                    Ninth Street Market
                    337 E 9th St, New York, NY 10003

                    Westville East
                    173 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: CalJack
                      kathryn Nov 3, 2007 01:10 PM

                      I really like the Tasting Room, Westville East, Jane (but only on Sundays, they have a larger menu then), 9th Street Market (but the waits can be long), Balthazar (make a reservation, waits can be long), and Stanton Social (make a reservation, it can get busy).

                      Other spots in the EV, LES, and Noho areas (places is being slow so i only linked a few):

                      Caffe Emilia (mostly egg stuff and panini, like Taralluci e Vino or 'ino/'inoteca, but done very well)
                      Cafe Mogador (some middle eastern dishes)
                      Cafe Orlin (cheap, tasty)
                      La Palapa (inexpensive pre fixe)
                      Grape and Grain (on my list to try)
                      Stage Restaurant (old school diner style)
                      B&H Dairy Vegetarian Restaurant (same)
                      Tree (on my list to try)
                      Schillers (not as good as Balthazar)
                      Back Forty (just opened, on my list to try, haven't heard anything about brunch yet)

                      Five Points is technically in Noho but the brunch is quite good and on par with Prune and Clinton Street, so that might be my first stop. I liked Stanton Social but the menu is extensive and not every dish is equally delicious (or equally sized). I can't wait until the new restaurant on 3rd ave and 10th (former Pizzeria Uno) by the owners of Jane and Neptune Room opens up.

                      Frankies 17 Spuntino
                      17 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

                      76 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

                      Five Points
                      31 Great Jones St, New York, NY 10012

                      1. re: kathryn
                        kathryn Nov 4, 2007 10:29 AM

                        A few more more to try:

                        Spitzer's Corner (saw a promising "pig benedict" on the menu today as well as a german apple pancake, hickory shortrib burger)
                        Little Giant
                        Rayuela ("freestyle latino" brunch apparently means pancakes with agave nectar, french toast with agave nectar, churros, huevos rancheros)
                        Belcourt (spotted on the menu: english breakfast, vanilla bourbon french toast, salt cod hash, lamb burger, squash/apple raviolo)

                        1. re: kathryn
                          kathryn Nov 4, 2007 11:48 AM

                          Menus for Spitzer's Corner, Rayuela, and Belcourt below. Sorry about the camera phone quality, and lack of rotation.

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