Jasreen Mayal Khanna, former NYC resident and brunch connoisseur shares her favourite spots in the city.
In the days I call my 'golden age’, when I was young, single and living in New York City, I swore by one solid motto: No good week starts without a Sunday brunch. Weekend after weekend, I met my friends for this midday meal at various spots all over the island city of New York. There are many reasons why I loved brunch—the chance to drink early in the morning without being labelled an alcoholic, the sweet and savoury carbs that soothed my Saturday night hangover into a sunny Sunday mood and also the opportunity to spend quality time with old friends in an audible environment. Cited below is a list I have compiled through the years, something I plan to pass on to friends, family and grandchildren whenever they travel to this city of dreams.
CLINTON STREET BAKING COMPANY Expect a long wait if you arrive for a weekend brunch at the Clinton Street Baking Company, but rest assured those blueberry pancakes are well worth the wait. Started as a small bakery, it got immensely popular among New Yorkers as a comfort food spot and now has various accolades to its credit including “Best Brunch,” “Best Pancakes” and “Best Muffins.” Their Buttermilk Biscuit Sandwich and Buttermilk Fried chicken are worth writing home about. Must try: Chocolate Peanut Butter Milkshake and Buttermilk Fried Chicken. Clinton Street Baking Company, 4 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002, USA
FATTY CUE This Malaysian-inspired restaurant packs a solid flavour punch into each of its colourful dishes and encourages patrons to eat with their hands. Their inventive menu includes starters like their Kale Salad and Bircher Mueseli, however if you could always go for something heavier like the Fatty Omelette, the Smoky Johnson Burger or the Pig and Pancakes. There are also a variety of sides you can choose from. Must try: One of their bottomless Cue Brunch cocktails Fatty Cue, 50 Carmine St, bet. Bleecker & Bedford, New York, NY 10014
There’s something alluring about this Noho café with glass-paned walls and wooden seats. No matter what the weather, it always feels like sun is shining on Noho Star. Combine that with the fluffiest Brioche French Toast in town and you have yourself a winner. The modest staff, loyal patrons and all-encompassing menu only add to the charms of this delightful restaurant.
Must try: Hot chocolate and Crab Cakes Benedict.
Noho Star, 330 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012, USA
BLUE RIBBON BAKERY
This brick-walled West Village outpost of the Blue Ribbon chain offers an award-winning brunch. The menu is divided into three sections—plates, French toast and poached eggs with a variety of toppings like shrimp, bacon and hash, and steak and eggs. Warning: Arrive early since reservations are only made for parties of five or more, and don’t stuff yourself with their deliciously warm bread baskets (which can also be bought at their market across the street). Must try: Root beer floats. Blue Ribbon Bakery,35 Downing Street New York, NY 10014, USA
ABC KITCHEN Chef Jean-Georges has created thisrestaurant inside the eclecticABC Carpet & Home store, where you may find a great treasure for your home pre or post brunch. Local ingredients and sustainability are a strong focus here. Apart from usual brunch fare, they also serve pastas, whole-wheat pizzas and a mean veggie burger. Must try: Whole-wheat pizza and veggie burger. ABC Kitchen, 35 East 18th Stree , New York, NY 10003, USA
LOCANDA VERDE Its name means ‘green inn’ and this Italian tavern in Tribeca serves up affordable, local food in an easy going setting—perfect for hassle-free brunch. Menu features local ingredients in their Sheep’s Milk Ricotta and Crispy Whole Grain Waffle. Their eggs are all organic and they also serve up some elegant, seasonal deserts like the Pear and Ginger Crisp and Maple Budino. Must try: Bloody Mary Della Casa made with Italian hot peppers and mortadella. Locanda Verde, 377 Greenwich Street, New York, NY 10013, USA
SARABETH’S CENTRAL PARK SOUTH The first lady of jams started her business out of an apartment and now owns a factory, bakery and nine restaurants. This branch is probably the loveliest location because it sits across New York City’s biggest attraction: Central Park. Sarabeth’s baked good are heavenly, starting with the Basket of Muffins and Preserves, also on sale. Classic breakfast dishes like porridge, granola, eggs and French toast dominate the menu and make this an ideal brunch spot. Must try: Four Flower Juice and Popeye Eggs. Sarabeth’s Central Park South, 40 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019, USA
NORMA’S Located inside Le Parker Meridien Hotel in Midtown, Norma’s famous breakfast has extended hours, until three in the afternoon daily. Its menu comprises of what I call super-brunch dishes: Chocolate Decadence French Toast, Cantabrigian Cheese Steak Crepe and even a Zillion Dollar Frittata. This classic café hits the spot on a morning-after-crazy-Saturday-night and you don’t have to be an early riser to get to it. Must try: Waz-Za Waffle with tons of fruit and a crackly brulee topping. Norma’s, 119 West 56th Street, New York, NY 10019, USA
DAVID BURKE TOWNHOUSE David Burke’s ornate, head-turning dishes are the highlight of this classic Upper East Side modern American restaurant. Choose the three course prix-fixed menu or go a la carte with dishes like the Parfait of Tuna and Salmon or the Open Face “Croque Madame.” With spectacular interiors, a cosy setting and artistically created dishes, this brunch is nothing short of perfect. Must try: Butterscotch Panna Cotta. David Burke Townhouse, 133 East 61st Street, New York, NY 10065, USA
CAFÉ RONDA An Argentinean café with strong South American and Mediterranean influences, it serves up breakfast and brunch from Monday to Sunday until four pm. Apart from regular brunch fare, they also serve hamburgers, soups, tapas and sandwiches. Their burgers are made with naturally-raised Brandt Sirloin and onion rolls. Must try: Albondigas (spiced lamb meatballs simmered in tomato sauce). Café Ronda, 249 Columbus Avenue, New York, NY 10023, USA
You may also like:
Jasreen Mayal Khanna