Brunch on the weekends in New York is automatic. A special occasion or holiday is unnecessary to brunch, because it’s just what you do. The difference between getting breakfast and brunching is this: you eat later, you drink mimosas, bellinis, or blood mary’s, you order an extra plate of pancakes “for the table.” After the last plate is cleared, you rub your somewhat bulging belly, lean back in your seat and announce you’re not eating for the rest of the day.
I enjoyed two great brunches this weekend at Shorty’s 32 and Clinton St. Baking Company, but the latter came with a 90 minute wait.
At the suggestion of my friend Elise, I tried the brunch at Shorty’s 32 in Soho and had a wickedly good french toast and a peaceful setting with no wait. Today, I found myself hungering for a warm buttery biscuit and a tall bloody mary, so the obvious choice for me and 3 million other New Yorkers was Clinton St. Baking Co. I don’t know if anything is worth waiting that long, but every single thing sets the gold standard for breakfast perfection. Their deftness with biscuits and pancakes is unreal.
Here’s my rundown on brunch spots:
Shorty’s 32 199 Prince St. Visit website here.
Clinton St. Baking Company: 4 Clinton St between Houston and Stanton Sts. Visit website here.
Cafe Habana: read my ode to Habana here.
Morandi: read my post and see pics here.
Frankies 17: when you just can’t wait one second longer for Clinton St, walk 50 feet down the block to Frankies Spuntino. Always packed for dinner, it’s nice and relaxed at brunchtime with their regular lunch menu plus a few breakfast-y additions: special french toast and a frittata of the day.
17 Clinton St, Lower East Side. Visit website.
Cafe Cluny: I invariably always order eggs at breakfast unless I’m at Cafe Cluny. Their homemade granola is served warm, with a big dollop of Old Chatham Farm yogurt and plump, ripe berries. It’s divine, and the little corner location is pretty sweet as well.
284 W. 12th St at W. 4th St. Visit website.
Tartine: On a leafy West Village corner, this tiny French cafe serves up a delicious eggs florentine and a quintessential village experience. The reasonable prices make it a long wait on the weekends (but at least you’re waiting on a nice street).
253 W. 11th St. at W. 4th, West Village. Read nymag.com’s review here.
Blue Ribbon Bakery: Get in line at 11AM for the 11:30AM opening. Order the poached eggs with chorizo hash. I’ve never had anything like it, and their corner location on Bedford and Downing is all charm, all the time. Read more here.
35 Bedford at Downing St, West Village.
Bubby’s: I adore their huevos rancheros as evidenced by this post. Two locations in DUMBO and Tribeca.
Little Giant bright and simple seasonal American spot with items like pig in a poke- poached eggs and andouille sausage in a crock of grits with soldiers, biscuits and gravy, and a duck confit club sandwich
85 Orchard St at the corner of Broome, Lower East Side. Fall in love with their menus here.
Brown rustic breakfast plates for nouveau brunchers; my favorite is the l.e.s breakfast: smoked atlantic salmon, herbed goat cheese, marinated tomatoes, and capers served on a thick wooden slab.
61 Hester at Ludlow, Lower East Side. Visit website.
On my brunch radar:
Persephone: because Greek brunch sounds cool, like Tiganita me yiaourti: fried flatbread with yogurt and preserved orange.
115 E. 60th St nr Park Ave.
Roebling Tea Room: simple space in Williamsburg, cheap, and if I want I can have bratwurst, cinnamon toast, and smoked salmon with beet relish with creme fraiche and not break the bank.
143 Roebling, Brooklyn. Visit website here.
Char No. 4: Andrea Strong, who writes The Strong Buzz, suggests this spot as the best brunch spot of 2008. That’s bold, but I’m willing to try, and I always love a little southern lovin’ in my brunch.
196 Smith St, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn.
Lil Frankies: I love this spot for dinner, so I’m imagining their $12.95 brunch prix-fixe would be pretty satisfying, especially since it includes a cocktail. Read their brunch menu here.