East Village brunch
Looking for suggestions for my favorite meal of the week in the East Village. It seems everyone is offering brunch these days, but who in particular is worth trying? Especially interested in places that don't have a ridiculous wait (a lot to ask, I realize).
Heya insatiable_one, I can't think of any great brunch places on my mind that don't have insane waits. Well wait, I can say 7A is good and so is Yuca Bar next door; they are excellent without an enormous wait. I accidentally missed the 'short wait' preference before I started writing, which these two following places don't adhere to (Westville East sometimes, but it can get busy). Nevertheless if you desire to turn to the dark side (long waits), here's some reviews:
Clinton Street Bakery -- The longest wait for weekend brunch downtown, hands down. It is fantastic, however, if you choose to wait. Their pancakes are divine, their Cuban Sandwich is glorious, and their specials are delightful. Again, extremely busy on the weekends (2 hour waits are common). But if you reaaally want great brunch, this is a great start. It's technically in the Lower East Side, but right on the boarder of the East Village.
Westville East -- this is a good neighborhood one, particularly if you like vegetables. This also can get busy, but not as long of waits as Clinton St. Their salads are solid, eggs with potato hash is good too. Great Turkey burger. I personally like going to lunch for one dish alone: their grilled lemon marinated chicken with 2 choices of veggies--does well for health points and taste. It generally has a fun, youthful atmosphere. For a neighborhood spot, it's solid.
We love Clinton Street too. But we had our longest wait this past weekend (1.5 hours), and I have to say it was NOT worth that wait. If you don't have to wait it's a very enjoyable place. But waiting that long for pancakes is absurd. They're very good but not THAT good. My girlfriend got the bacon and egg biscuit sandwich, as usual. It was as good as ever, but, again, not worthy of that sort of wait out in the cold.
The Smith is fine--a little greasy but big portions and fun atmosphere. Cafe Orlin is pretty solid and offers interesting brunch choices. There is usually a wait though but not too ridiculous.
Prune (long wait)
Public (not EV but very close if you live by Houston/Bowery edge)
The Smith (pretty good, but popular)
Westville East (some what of a wait)
Ciao for Now (more of a coffee shop, but super cute)
Belcourt (though I think their chef just left)
Caffe Emilia (mostly egg stuff and panini, like Taralluci e Vino or 'ino/'inoteca, but done very well)
Cafe Mogador (some middle eastern dishes, too)
Cafe Orlin (cheap, tasty, good home fries)
Veselka (Ukranian, good, cheap, crowded)
La Palapa (inexpensive pre fixe)
Grape and Grain (on my list to try)
Flea Market Cafe (have only been for dinner, seems serviceable but not extraordinary), Stage Restaurant (old school diner style)
B&H Dairy Vegetarian Restaurant (same)
Tree (on my list to try)
Back Forty (on my list to try)
Chinatown Brasserie (dim sum, technically Noho)
Pinche Taqueria, Downtown Bakery, Puebla (breakfast tacos and burritos)
Five Points (love this spot, technically Noho)
Double Crown (great atmosphere, not too crowded)
Momofuku Ssam Bar (egg dishes only)
Pylos (and you can get some stuff off the regular menu, too, they have amazing pita bread)
Sunburnt Cow (known for their bottomless drink specials)
Newish: Simon Sips, JoeDoe, Arlo & Esme, Mercury Dime, Yerba Buena, Absinthe.
I agree! There is never a wait at Paprika and brunch is very decent! Pylos is one of the greatest places in the East Village, I love the dinner and I am sure brunch is great although I've never tried it, I've also never had anything at dinner that wasn't wonderful. Belcourt's brunch is fantastic.
I second Five Points - good food and ambiance and you can reserve in advance. Grape and Grain is also excellent, but more casual and homey. Prune is famous for brunch but the wait can be over an hour.
To avoid a ridiculous wait go early. Get there when brunch starts - typically 11am. I've heard Belcourt Cafe is great but I went at 1:30pm and there was an hour wait (forget it). If you want to go a little lower - I suggest Inoteca in the LES. Great brunch spot and fabulous wine list (added bonus).
Brunch @ Five Points is one of my favorites in the area. I also really enjoy Essex on the Lower East side but can get crowded and reservations are definitely required. Freeman's also has a great brunch menu as well. Jule's Bistro and Cafe Mogador are also pretty good spots that don't really require reservations.