Best Brunch in the City

by Celine Gordon

Did you know that the 100 pleats on a chef’s hat represent all the different ways to cook an egg? This tradition dates back to the seventh century, when the most renowned chefs boasted that they could serve their royal masters a different egg dish every day of the year. Today, chefs no longer have to prove themselves in this manner, but New York City still has a wide variety of breakfast dishes in store. If you’re like me and love breakfast food but hate waking up before 10am, brunch is the perfect meal! There’s nothing better than a leisurely weekend afternoon of fancy eggs (sorry if you like sweet brunch, I have an egg bias) and freshly-squeezed orange juice. Some of the best brunch restaurants can be found all over Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Wish it was Sunday? We do.

Prune
54 East 1st St (East Village)
Admittedly, prunes are gross. Luckily, Prune’s name does not reflect its food. Although the restaurant is super small, its bright and slightly girly décor makes up for its less-than-ideal size. The Monte Cristo – a triple-decker sandwich with turkey, deep-fried ham, cheese, and eggs served with red currant jelly – is my personal favorite. Prune also has other very rich dishes such as spaghetti carbonara and steak and eggs. You may not be able to get up for the rest of the afternoon, but it’s so worth it.

Yaffa Cafe
97 Saint Marks Place (East Village)
While it doesn’t have the most creative food, Yaffa Cafe is a quintessential eclectic East Village cafe. Its allure is irresistible. Decorated neon lights, plastic grapes, and a different animal print on every surface, it’s a great place to go to experience New York kitsch at its finest. The food is simple, but yummy; I usually order an omelette with spinach, tomato, and bacon. If it’s warm outside, try to get a seat on the enormous back porch.

Buttermilk Channel and Black Gold
524 Court Street, Brooklyn
The wait at Buttermilk Channel can be daunting, but fortunately it’s very close to Black Gold Records, a tiny record store that serves coffee and other hot drinks. Since Buttermilk Channel doesn’t take reservations, I’d recommend you go and put your name on the list, then get some pre-brunch goodies at Black Gold with their sea salt and hazelnut hot chocolate. While you wait, you can also browse their collection of records, armadillo taxidermy, and antiques. Despite my egg bias, Buttermilk Channel is the place to be if you like things on the sweeter side. The pecan pie French toast is a masterpiece, topped with bourbon, molasses, and pecans.

Is Jane the best brunch in New York City?

Jane
100 West Houston Street (SoHo)
Jane is hands down the best brunch I’ve had so far in New York. It has the perfect combination of price, atmosphere, and deliciousness. Located in SoHo, Jane is slightly bigger than most New York restaurants, so there’s plenty of space for mid-morning dining without feeling like you’re sitting on top of everyone else. They’re also known for their exceptional reinventions of classic breakfast dishes. I ordered a variation on Eggs Benedict (one of my favorite dishes) called the Eggs Johnny that had an apple-infused sausage with poached eggs on top of homemade corn bread and covered with sun-dried tomato hollandaise.

The Lodge
318 Grand Street, Brooklyn
I stumbled upon The Lodge during my first semester and felt like I was back at home. This hunting lodge-themed restaurant in Williamsburg has all the comforts – including antlers – of the southwest. I often doubt a New Yorker’s ability to make spicy food, but The Lodge does an excellent job of capturing the flavors of the west. I had Chorizo Corncakes, a maza-based pancake topped with a poached egg, and pico de gallo avocado. It’s also a great place to go if you’re looking to explore Brooklyn, so make sure to wear your best flannel.

Elephant and Castle
68 Greenwich Avenue (West Village)
Modeled after a pub in Dublin, Elephant and Castle is a warm, comforting spot to escape the winter cold. They specialize in English style food mixed with classic American touches, including Eggs Benedict on potato pancakes and old-fashioned porridge. It’s a great little place to go with friends and dine amongst ceramic elephants.

Celine Gordon is a sophomore at Barnard and a photographer and staff-writer for The Nine Ways of Knowing.

Images courtesy of Celine Gordon and Jones Magazine.

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