The Brunch-Crawl

Brunch in NYC is a very big thing. It is all about getting together after a Saturday night party, people watching and drinking again. New Yorkers have the habit to keep drinking on Sunday mornings, mimosas or blody-marys, a trend that none of my French friends was able to follow. Brunch menus look like each other in the city. Since the kale, this green cabage is trendy, it is on every brunch menus, like Brussel sprouts, which is another thing French people cannot bear, synonymous of the cafeteria in middle school. However, like any other trend, it might hit France in a couple of years (months?) and you will see soon our “bobos” eat those veggies reinvented for the French palate.

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The NoMad
The NoMad

The NoMad hotel: If you want to impress your parents or a date, the restaurant in this hotel is the perfect spot. Divided into different areas, you can have brunch in the atrium, or by the fireplace or the parlour… Read more

 

 

Le Philosophe
Le Philosophe

Le Philosophe: Another French restaurant that opened a couple of months ago in NoHo. And the NYC food scene created a buzz about this place. What is so fantastic about this place… Read more

 

 

Raspberry tarte
Raspberry tarte

Eric Kayser: It is a bit the war between Uptown and Downtown people, but some of them are almost crying Eric Kayser takes so much time to open its second location at Gramercy… Read more

 

 

Reynard
Reynard

Reynard: Some places decide to change their name to refresh their image. Last August, Tarlow decided to officially change the name of “Reynards”to… “Reynard”. Since I first came to NY in August 2012… Read more

 

 

Coq-au-vin
Maison Harlem

Maison Harlem: Harlem is more and more having nice restaurants opening. Maison Harlem is one of them. Located in the very quiet West Harlem, this French restaurant is a nice place for brunch once you are done with the traditional Gospel church… Read more

 

The Dutch, Soho
The Dutch, Soho

The Dutch: American Soho restaurant own by the same team than the new Lafayette. The venue is bright, with the same snobby atmosphere you find in these trendy Manhattan spots I talked about in earlier posts… Read more

 

 

Parmesan french toast
L’Apicio

L’Apicio: I usually do not go to Italian restaurant for brunch because what is the point of eating eggs when you can have carbonara? However, since we could get a reservation we ended at L’Apicio… Read more

 

 

Clinton St. Baking
Clinton St. Baking

Clinton St. Baking: You probably don’t understand why New Yorkers are ready to do the line for 2 hours to eat but sometimes you just pass the door and you get it. Clinton St. Bakery opens at 9am on weekends… Read more

 

 

Hundred Acres
Hundred Acres

Hundred Acres: Thanks to Open Table, I hopefully skip the 45 minute line to get the precious table. One of the waitress sulks, I don’t care she is not in charge of our table. Some hipsters at the bar, mostly preppies in the venue… Read more

 

August
August

August is a tiny spot in West Village. If offers only a few tables on the front and the surprise comes when you can be seated in the courtyard since it is covered and open all day long. It is really calm so having brunch on weekends… Read more

 

 

Jojo
Jojo

Jojo: one of Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s restaurants (Chef at ABC Kitchen) in the UES. We go for the $28 three-course brunch with appetizer/entrée/desert, but without the traditional egg benedict or pancakes… Read more

 

 

Café B
Café B

B Café: this traditional Belgium bistro offers excellent dishes like the mussels, the egg benedict with smoked salmon served on English muffins. Try the Egg sandwich, it looks really simple but the combo of fresh baguette, scrambled eggs, avocado and ‘Belgium’ fries is fantastic.

 

 

Alice Tea Cup
Alice Tea Cup

Alice Tea Cup: This UES tea place was my #1 brunch spot for a while. The décor is a bit too kitchy, especially when you are not having tea time with your mother. I came in fall so they had pumpkin scones, which is probably part of the reason why I came so often. The scones are fluffy and look and taste like more an English scone. The egg benedicts are very well one, served with smoked salmon and a buttermilk scone. But the funniest and more typical to order is the afternoon tea presented on a three-tiered stand with scones, sandwiches, desserts, and tea (with a large selection of course). It’s like being in London.

Café d'Alsace
Café d’Alsace

Café d’Alsace: this other UES café is a great neighborhood restaurant. It has an outdoor place that makes you feel being in France. They have classic from American egg benedicts to the traditional Quiche Lorraine.

 

Jane
Jane

Jane: It is not the Jane Hotel, but it is at least as pretentious as the hotel. Try to book a table ahead on Open Table or the snobby waiters will enjoy having you wait for a long time. Once you pass this first welcome at least you can enjoy the meal. Because they have great crab cake egg benedict.

Jojo

Jojo is one of Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s restaurants (Chef at ABC Kitchen) in the UES. We go for the $28 three-course brunch with appetizer/entrée/desert, but without the traditional egg benedict or pancakes you can only choose à la carte.

The exquisite butternut squash soup served with black mushrooms reminds me I never succeeded in having this taste when I cook such a dish. For the entrée, the slaw-baked salmon is perfectly cooked, served with an excellent truffle mashed potatoes and Brussel sprouts. The shrimp-asparagus risotto is to die for as well. For chocolate fanatics, Jojo serves a chocolate cake made with real chocolate that melts when you open it. If you want a calm atmosphere where for once you can hear what your date (or your mother) is saying with a great value brunch, this is the spot.

Jojo
160 E 64th St
New York, NY 10065
(212) 223-5656

The Pizza Crawl

It seems that the best food from every country has met in NYC. And pizza is not an exception. Skip the $1 slice-pizza and all the greasy declinations around Time Square. Unfortunately you can also skip Little Italy that is day after day eaten by Chinatown and offers only two very good Italian delis besides touristic restaurants. The city offers excellent options of the Neapolitan style pizza. Here is the map.

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Roberta’s: my favorite pizza ever, the trip to Bushwick definitely worth it. Here is the full review.

 

 

 

keste

Keste Pizza &Vino: Bleeker Street is the street I whish I could have lived in. Italian waiters welcome you in this small spot and serve you excellent thin pizza with a great selection of toppings and wines. What else?

 

Keste Pizza & Vino
271 Bleecker St
New York, NY 10014
(212) 243-1500

motorino_logoMotorino: they recently opened another location in Brooklyn but I only tried the restaurant in East Village. The atmosphere and decoration seemed a bit cold to me, maybe because I went late in the night. I slightly prefer the dough of Keste but they are very similar to me.
Motorino
349 E 12th St,
New York, NY 10003
(212) 777-2644

forcellaForcella: this big restaurant in Bowery was empty on a Tuesday night, which is sad for such a nice place. Italian waiters welcome you as well; service was #1 in this restaurant. They obviously made me try different wines so I could choose my favorite one. However, they had an issue with the temperature of the pizza. The margarita was served cold in the middle, but they generously made us another one. The white pizza was excellent, but not that hot neither, which is strange since they have a wooden-oven. To apology, they offered us another glass of wine, excellent technique since it made us forget the cool pizza. Not sure the same thing could have happened in France…


Forcella
334 Bowery,
New York, NY 10012
(212) 466-3300

ovestOvest Pizzoteca e Bar: located right in front of the Hotel Americano in Chelsea, this pizzeria offers the aperitivo like in Italy with a choice of appetizer when you order a drink. I came too late to try it but I would love to get some reviews about it. Otherwise they have very decent pizza in a young atmosphere. Try the pizza with arugula on the top, my favorite one.

Ovest Pizzoteca e Bar
513 W 27th St #2,
New York, NY 10001
(212) 967-4392

National Lobster Day

America always finds a great excuse to celebrate. While everything starts turning into the colors of the US flag, each day has its national celebration.The East Coast has some local specialties, and the lobster from Maine is one of them. It is a lot easier and cheaper than in France to eat lobster. Order it, they cook it, prepare it, just eat it! One of the local think that actually just hit Paris is the lobster roll. What is it? Lot of lobster meat served hot with melted butter or cold with mayo on a roll (yes the same bread than the one for hot dogs…).

Last Saturday was National Lobster Day and what a better place than the Hamptons to enjoy this day? Montauk is the eastern village on Long Island and we stopped by St Peter’s Catch, a seafod market that has outdoor sitting apart of the road. You can get fish tacos, lobster rolls or fries and salads. However, the best deal was the lobster lunch special made of a full lobster with its butter sauce, mussels, corn, coleslaw and fried potatoes…for $21.
St Peter’s Catch
58 S Erie Ave
Montauk, NY 11954
(631) 668-7100
IMG_0617Even though you will never find the quality and quantity of the lobster roll at Neptune, Boston, two places caught my attention in the city.
Neptune
63 Salem St
Boston, MA 02113
(617) 742-3474

Lobster Joint opened last fall in the LES. As the name says it, it is a joint, but that offers nice options and even has an alcohol license. The lobster roll is served hot with its salad and pickles. It tastes good and is bigger than the Red Hook Lobster Pound. And if you want to try really good fish tacos, head there on Tuesdays where they have the special. This place is rarely packed and should be known since it is a great joint.
Lobster Joint
201 E Houston St
New York, NY 10002
(646) 896-1110

IMG_0913Luke’s Lobster has several joints in the city. The portion is not big but it tastes really good.
Luke’s Lobster
93E 7th Street
New York, NY 10009
(212) 387-8587

 

 

And finally if you are not scared to make a mess, go to The Lobster Place in Chelsea Market. Recently renovated, you can order your size of lobster and eat it directly in the market. And it is so good. They also offer lobster rolls but they are not as great as the two other options above. And it is served with chips, not fries.
Lobster Place in the Chelsea Market
75 9th Avenue
New York, NY 10011
(212) 255-5672

August

August is a tiny spot in West Village. If offers only a few tables on the front and the surprise comes when you can be seated in the courtyard since it is covered and open all day long. It is really calm so having brunch on weekends is very relaxing.

The oeuf cocotte was really tasty, especially when you order the Alsatian option with bacon, onions and cream. And it comes with bread. If you have a big appetite, think of it as an appetizer. They also offer classic egg benedict or even a burger that I unfortunately haven’t tasted.

The food is good without being outstanding, the service is all right without being super friendly, but the relaxing courtyard is the added value to the spot.

August
359 Bleecker St
New York, NY 10014
(212) 929-8727

For desert, stop by the food-truck Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream on Bleeker Street. They offer artisanal ice cream in a nice crunchy cone. The mango chili tasted nice on the first bite, with all the flavor of the fruit flavor, but the use of chili was too intense so it overwhelms the palate. For pistachio fanatics like me, this one was the best I had for a long time. I am not a big fan of ice-cream, but this truck could get me come back faster than usually.

Van Leeuwen Ice Cream

L’Apicio

I usually do not go to Italian restaurant for brunch because what is the point of eating eggs when you can have carbonara? However, since we could get a reservation we ended at L’Apicio. There is a small outdoor space but the décor inside is so outstanding I would not recommend to stay outside. The restaurant has different areas, comfy couches for a drink, a bar to get a cocktail experience, a wine room that made me think they must have a great wine list.

The brunch menu is pretty small but offers from italo-americano dishes like pancakes with ricotta to Italian pasta like the carbonara. The parmesan French toast served with prosciutto and egg is pretty and tasty. The toast is crunchy on the side and melts in the middle, which ads a lot of value to this dish. If you are craving for a side, try the Tuscany fries served with their cold spicy dip.

Another excellent Italian restaurant in Manhattan despite the non-fresh squeezed orange juice…

L’Apicio
13 East 1st St
New York, NY 10003
212-533-7400

The NoMad Hotel

If you want to impress your parents or a date, the restaurant in this hotel is the perfect spot. Divided into different areas, you can have brunch in the atrium, or by the fireplace or the parlour, or just having a drink at the bar waiting for the library to open later. Try not to be in the highway that are tables for two, but I would strongly recommend the living room for a quiet, comfy brunch.

Otherwise, the food is delicious and if you think you can’t have a chicken sandwich for brunch you are wrong. It is not exactly like the same preparation than the $79 chicken for two served for dinner. The roasted chicken stuffed with black truffle and foie gras is served in a brioche, and the smell of the truffle is so intense the waiting time to take the picture was really tough.

If you go classic for the crabmeat egg benedict, you will get the finest you can have in the city, served with crabmeat. Yes, they were damn good. Yes it is my favorite brunch spot in the city. Yes, you definitely have to go. Period.

The NoMad Hotel
1170 Broadway
New York, NY 10001
(212) 796-1500