Review: Alias (Brunch) - Lower East Side
Went to Alias today on [a href="http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5927...] recommendation for Brunch on the Lower East Side. Overall an excellent experience. Here are the details.
For context: We just moved to the city a little more than a month ago from Seattle, and the only place we've been for brunch so far is Barney Greengrass, which, being a smoked fish place, I think cannot be compared to a place like Alias.
We walked by Clinton St. Baking Co. and were told it would be a little over 1.5 hours for two. We're more savory breakfast folks, and since I've heard Clinton St. is really great for pancakes, didn't feel like waiting. Considered taking out but we wanted to sit down.
Walked down the street to Alias. Outside it looks a little wacky, with something like a funhouse style colored light bulbs surrounding an old 70s style sign. Inside it's a much more modern, nice vibe: a few tables in the middle and others along the wall with banquettes. Host was very nice, seated us immediately at about 11:45am on a Saturday, although otherwise the place was full. Looking at the menu, they had a good smattering of more or less typical dishes, but a few standouts looked like the Meaty Breakfast Burrito, the omelette (they only do one kind a day as a special, on our day it was chorizo, cheddar, and scallions), and biscuits and gravy. Their benedict seems a little wacky, made with something called Goedda that the menu described as some sort of Cincinnati version of scrapple (we decided to pass on it).
I was most excited about the fact that they serve Anson Mills grits, which I'm familiar with from a restaurant I used to work in. They're unlike most other grits you can get outside of the South - they keep the germ intact, which makes them incredibly perishable but unbelievably tasty with an excellent texture. They are by far the best grits I've ever had, so I had to get them - went for the cheesy grits with greens and a biscuit, and added on an over-easy egg. My wife got the cornmeal waffle with fried chicken. I got coffee, the wife went for green tea and an OJ. Coffee was very good for drip.
Food came out pretty quickly. The waffle didn't look like much, sort of flabby and on the smallish side (like something you'd make at home), but it had great flavor, good texture, and didn't need any butter. Came with a roasted apple compote in real maple syrup. Fried chicken was fantastic, although we got a wing and a leg - I would've liked a larger piece like a breast or a thigh, but that's just being picky.
Grits were out of control good, creamy but had a great bite to them, big course pieces, smothered in cheddar cheese. Looked like a whole grain biscuit on the side, and a small bowl of collards on the side with their braising liquid. I put the egg on top to get the yolk involved in there too. The cheesy grits on their own were great, but then with the greens it provided the saltiness the grits lack on their own. Portions were very reasonable, as were prices ($32 including tip for the two of us).
Funny you should mention the outside decor! Alias and a few places around it used to be more more plain, but they were using that street as backdrop for the Across the Universe movie. Lots of shops had crazy designs painted on, and just kept them after the filming was over.
Glad you liked it! BTW, the goedda is actually pretty good! If you like that sort of stuff. :) My husband is really into their chicken and waffles, too.
Dunno if you saw my "brunch bible" from another thread, so here it is.
Best brunch in NY: