Brunch is not my favorite meal as I am not a pancake or egg fan, but there are some great places that I would spend the time, money and calories on.
- Prune – 54 E. 1st Street – Chef Gabrielle Hamilton’s 17-year-old restaurant has earned its place among New York’s all-time classics. The food remains delicious and ambitious, and there’s a no-nonsense vibe that reflects Hamilton’s sense of confidence. Gluten-free, vegan, Paleo — any picky eaters — should stay away, as this restaurant doesn’t pander to the special requests of guests. Brunch draws long lines and the food is worth the wait, not to mention the 11 variations of Bloody Marys! No reservations taken so get in line.
- The Spotted Pig – The Spotted Pig has been one of the most important and influential restaurants in the world as the first gastropubs. No reservations taken, but if you get there when they open for Brunch at 11:30 you are sure to get a bar seat or table. Chef April Bloomfield turns out great food in a comfortable atmosphere with vibes. People are hanging, drinking, and mingling, waiting to eat a delicious meal in tight quarters. The famous burger, is really very good.
- Otto Pizzeria – 1 Fifth Avenue – OTTO combines the elegance of a Bolognese enoteca with the fun bustle of an Italian train station. Open from 11AM to midnight, OTTO is perfect a late brunch. They are know, of course, for their pizza, but have many other options such as cured meats, cheses, small tastes (vegetable and seafood), and pasta. I love the black truffle pizza with a poached egg. They also have the best gelato outside of Italy (try the olive oil!). Eat at the bar or in the Enoteca (marble-topped standing or sitting tables by the bar).
- Upland – 345 Park Avenue South – one of my favorite restaurants also had a great brunch. Order the roasted porchetta egg sandwich with guindilla chillies, farm egg, and arugula and the oblong sausage and kale pizza topped with young pecorino cheese, stracciatella and Parmigiano. The trio of cheeses acted as a creamy, slightly funky sauce to the not too thin, nicely charred pizza crust. Yes they also have pancakes and eggs Benedict.
- Aqua Grill – 210 Spring Street – Another one of my favorite restaurants. Definitely have the oysters, but follow with the seared tuna sandwich, one of the egg dishes, or salad. You cannot go wrong with whatever you order.
- Russ & Daughters Cafe – 127 Orchard St – The Cafe is modeled on the family’s 100-year-old Lower East Side store, but with traditional Jewish deli food and some not so traditional eats. Enjoy that lox and bagel with a smear!
- ABC Kitchen – 35 E 18th Street – Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s hip Flatiron restaurant, delivering new American cooking with a sophisticated twist on farm-to-table. Order the roasted Kabocha squash toast with fresh ricotta and apple cider vinegar, the raw tuna or fluke, and the roasted turkey sandwich.