We work for the weekends and brunch is one of the many more reasons to why. It is the one meal that fanfare into the weekend and it is the one meal people seem willingly to queue up to a hour or more for a table in the city. Perhaps it’s the bloody marys, the bottomless coffee, the egg benedicts or the chicken & waffles. The dining culture and brunch menu has come quite a way since Denny’s, Ihop or your roadside diners and the current brunch scene is worth celebrating. With tiny New York City apartments, brunch is a meal to sink into for an escape which the interior restaurant decor and ambiance seems to play an integral part as much as what’s on the menu. Here are my most recent noteworthy, unobnoxious brunch dining in the New York City area:
Isa /// For the last couple of years my girlfriends and I have celebrated each other birthdays over a shared meal. For the third consecutive year, I chose brunch cause it’s my favorite meal of the week. Our past brunch includes: Essex Street and Cafe Mogador and I sure do have the greatest friends who would sacrifice in the frigid cold to the verge of frost bites for a table with me. So this year I had picked a brunch spot that would take reservation and Isa in Williamsburg, Brooklyn conveniently does via Opentable.com. It was a luxury to be seated immediately to a table. Isa, a cozy little restaurant infused with the perfume of bacon and a wall display of cut wood feels like dining in a cabin, it’s a treat for any city girl who is nature deprived like myself. On the menu is their signature breakfast pizza – yep you read that right, pizza for breakfast topped with two sunny side up and bacon which you cannot go wrong.
Rose Water /// Located in Park Slopes on Union Street is Rose Water. A nice neighborhood brunch spot that is more than the average salmon egg benedicts or omelette. They have a prix fixe menu that includes a drink like a ginger pear or hibiscus juice. I had the smoked fish cake with poached eggs and salads which the batter of the fish cake was bread crumbed or panko dressed with chipotle salsa. I think what really stood out was a side of fuji apple pancakes with walnuts. I rarely see pancakes as a side dish on the menu which should probably appear more often as a side dish to devour without the guilt.
Freeman’s /// The same owners behind Isa owns this charming restaurant, Freeman’s tucked in the heart of Lower East Side, Freeman’s Alley. We celebrated my good friend’s birthday at Freeman’s. The decor similar to Isa has a heavy nature theme with taxidermy in every nook but somehow achieved tastefully without feeling like eating at the Museum of Natural History instead I can spend hours exploring each corner and admiring the decor. The food was up to standards and I was quite frankly nauseous from eating eggs from all the brunches we’ve had that I had opted for a roast pork sandwich with fries instead which was delish!
Jack’s Wife Freda/// There is always a massive brunch crowd for Jack’s Wife Freda on the weekends. Instead I recommend going either during the end of brunch service or thankfully they serve brunch during weekday too! The menu at Jack’s Wife Freda is Mediterranean inspired and it was my first time I even heard and had a shakshuka which essentially are baked eggs and their version is with a salsa verde. I love the Stumptown bottomless drip and the whimsical tiny touches to the restaurant from the menu, sugar packets and stationery. A fun, casual spot for a meal to unwind with friends.
The Fat Radish/// There are many restaurants who claims that they are farm to table but The Fat Radish goes beyond the farm to table model and support local purveyors like Saxelby Cheesemongers not too far away from their restaurant for fine cheeses on the menu. The chefs/ owners of The Fat Radish are from Great Britain, so naturally I had to have the seasonal celery root, gruyere cheese pot pie for one and pot pie for brunch? – Yes, please. It’s hearty, soulful and comfort food at its best. With rustic table tops and natural sunlight through the skylight makes it one of my favorite neighborhood gems. Their newest Upper East Side restaurant is worth checking out too, The East Pole.
Friend of a Farmer/// Irving Street is one of my many favorite streets in New York City, located below Gramercy Tavern and not too far from Union Square is home to Irving Coffee, Beford Cheese Shop and Friend of a Farmer. They have quite a list for brunch with various filling combination for an omelette that you could imagine. The best dish however, was their special of the day, crab cake on English muffin which I was picking off from my cousin’s dish. The pros of dining at Friend of a Farmer it was surprisingly a pleasant family friendly dining spot with children under the age of 5. A treat on a rainy Sunday afternoon.
The weekend is a time to unwind, relax and recharge from the work week and the last thing you want to do is wait for a table. Make a reservation at Opentable NYC restaurants page for your next brunch date. I love to hear what your favorite brunch spots in New York City are or a brunch spot worth traveling out of state for, so don’t be shy and leave a comment. Cheers!