Spoon & Tbsp
I’m ashamed to admit that it’s been a while since I’ve tried a new place for brunch in the city. Usually, I’ve been sticking to the most convenient options for me (Eatery in Midtown), or the no-fail ones (Cafe Mogador in the East Village). It’s so nice to break out of that routine though, and upon the suggestion of my friend Sadia, we found another gem: Spoon. Spoon is the name of the family-owned restaurant, but they also have a takeout storefront they refer to as Tbsp (so cute).
The space is so cozy and feels like you’re eating in a country house (perhaps the point — owner Melissa Chmelar credits her mother’s country cooking as inspiration for most of the dishes). The farm-to-table concept results in really fresh, really delicious plates with seasonal organic produce delivered daily from upstate NY. We didn’t get to try too much of their sweet options (even though they sounded amazing — cinnamon brioche french toast!), but the eggs made all different ways were insanely good.
By Summar Ghias
I had long been intrigued by the farm-to-table Logan Square tavern Longman & Eagle for its triple threat status as buzzed-about restaurant, bar and inn. After several failed attempts at eating a meal there (on account of their ‘no reservation’ policy and my frequently impatient stomach), I was finally able to give the place a try for brunch. It was my first time eating the down-South specialty known as “Chicken and Waffles” and I have to say I wasn’t disappointed.
Chicken and Waffles: Fried Chicken, Waffles, Sweet Potato Hash (sans the normal Pork Belly), and Maple Syrup
Longman and Eagle’s version of soul food is incredibly flavorful: the herb crusted fried chicken and fluffy waffles come with a yummy sweet potato hash (we got the no pork version). Combined with maple syrup, it’s a conveniently sweet but savory dish for the indecisive brunch-goer. We ate it all together – chicken, waffle and syrup in each bite – which I was later told says a lot about you. What, exactly? I go big or go home. Obviously.
A less exciting Cinnamon Spiced Brioche French Toast with Citrus Butter and Praline Pecans.
Brunch at Bergdorf Goodman should be one of your bucket list places to go in NYC. I can’t help but sometimes think a lot of the made-popular-by-movies/shi-shi places are over-hyped but I’ve been to BG Restaurant once for my birthday and recently for my friend/cousin/fashionista extraordinaire’s birthday (Hi Heba!) and it has never failed to satisfy. Both elegant and delicious. Plan in advance though for a reservation — it’s not always easy to get a table for brunch!!
Sun-dried tomato gnocchi
By Sabrina Enayatulla
On an early Sunday afternoon the wait for brunch at The Bluebell Cafe in Gramercy is literally spilling onto the sidewalk. Of course a busy restaurant is always a good sign, but on a weekend with afternoon plans already in place, the Best Friend and I decided to reschedule. Since Bluebell serves breakfast (the meal with our most favorite food choices!) until 11 a.m. during the week, we returned to enjoy the French cuisine fused with traditional American home-style cooking the following day, Monday morning.
The Bluebell Cafe
Bluebell can be best described as a place that’s reminiscent of a relative’s house where you might go for Thanksgiving. It’s warm and cozy and has the feel of being a favorite local small town drop-in. For breakfast we ordered to share: over-easy eggs, buttermilk biscuits, wheat toast, buttermilk pancakes and blueberry pancakes served with maple syrup and dusted with powdered sugar, and Brioche French toast served with berry compote and lemon curd.
I can be a bit indecisive at times so I almost always ask to mix up the offerings on restaurant menus because I want a little bit of everything. At Bluebell, this started as soon as I saw the pancake menu. Like that pack of butterfly-and-hearts covered cotton undies that your mom left on your bed after a Kmart run back in the ’90s, the pancakes at Bluebell come in a set of three. Problem was, I had to choose between buttermilk and the day’s special: blueberry.
Apparently Hamid carries around hard boiled eggs with him in the morning
SO after multiple failed attempts, Hamid and I finally made it to Peels, one of his favorite spots for brunch. Every time we’ve tried to go there before on the weekend, it ends up being kind of a wait and we give up. But this was a Friday morning and after our workout, we went straight over and were seated right away. The place itself is so cute and I found out later that its owned by the same people who run Freemans, another slightly hidden alley restaurant in the LES (I personally think their dinner trumps their brunch their though!!).
A peek inside
This would sort of explain the restaurant’s country-style home aesthetic, though this place is a little more roomy with two levels of seating areas. They pretty much serve traditional American and comfort foods, but I tried to be “good” so I ordered their spa eggs (egg white omelette, sautéed spinach, onions, goat cheese). Hamid could afford to eat a little richer since he’s practically always at the gym as a trainer so he got the fried chicken sandwich (not fair, but I was strong).
Spa eggs, $11
Fried chicken sandwich, $12
I’ve been on a working out binge lately (mostly to counteract all the steak I ate in Buenos Aires) and thankfully my friend Hamid, a fitness expert, is helping me by training me once a week. Last week, we met at a gym downtown and after I felt like I did 5,000 squats we rushed out to grab some food. Originally, we wanted to go to Peels but the wait was long as expected (it was a Sunday after all). Since he had another client in less than an hour, we decided to just go with whatever was fastest, and that happened to be Phebe’s Tavern & Grill. Probably not the best of ideas.
The hostess may have just broke up with her boyfriend or something — she was not really in a smiling mood at all. We sat down and quickly ordered scrambled breakfast egg burritos. A football game was on and everyone was all decked out in their Bengals gear (I found out later that Phebe’s is like Bengals mecca in NYC). Their cheering was more like roars that made it quickly clear that if you weren’t going to be watching a game here, you probably shouldn’t eat here.
We asked if they could put a rush in the order, and I don’t know if it’s because we were in a hurry, but it felt like an eternity. All was forgiven (we thought) once our food came out. Our plate was practically overflowing with seasoned homefries, guacamole, salsa, and fruits. While the sides were great, it didn’t take us long to find the eggs to be disappointing.