Brunch is one weekend ritual many a Brooklynite would sooner sacrifice a first-born child than skip, but if increasingly long wait times and overcrowded restaurants are enough to have you considering brunching at home, ponder these spots that despite excellent food, fast service and noise levels that actually allow you to hear the gossip you got out of bed for in the first place, have somehow managed to elude the attention of the masses.
Los Tres Potrillos
While we’re still stoked about the new Brooklyn taco spots we highlighted last week, our favorite spot for Mexican breakfast is Los Tres Potrillos (The Three Colts). This Sunset Park standby feels something like a suburban Denny’s, with wide windowfront booths that are almost never fully occupied. If you’re not an obvious Spanish-speaker, the waitresses will often hand you an English-language menu with Denny’s-esque whipped cream-topped waffles. Those actually aren’t bad, but insist on seeing the “real” breakfast menu. That’s where you’ll find an array of spicy, booze-absorbing brunch options, including huevos rancheros, huevos con chorizo and huevos con nopales (catcus). All are served with rice, beans and tortillas, for the amazing price of $6.25 a plate.
Los Tres Potrillos, 1004 4th Ave. (at 38th St.); (718) 788-8484. Brunch is served for $6.25 a platter.
The corner spot on Greene and Waverly avenues in Clinton Hill has seen more than one restaurant shutter over the past few years, but it looks like it’s current incarnation, Aita, which serves fresh, farm-to-table Italian food, might have some staying power–the restaurant celebrates its one-year anniversary this month.
Being seated right away was a breath of fresh air in an area where wait times can be taxing on the weekends at nearby brunch spots like iCi, Walter’s and Roman’s on Dekalb Avenue. Despite a lack of outdoor seating, Aita’s window-lined interior lets the afternoon light flood in.
True to its Italian roots, the brunch menu is a mix of both pasta dishes and breakfast options like a savory, braised beef cheek hash topped off with a poached egg, as well as sweet-tooth items like banana brioche French toast and buttermilk blueberry pancakes.
Brunch cocktails include classics like mimosas and Bloody Marys, but signature drinks like the Magenta, a deep purple drink made with beet-infused vodka, and the Red Snapper, a Bloody Mary made with basil-infused gin, really stand out.
Aita, 132 Greene Ave. (at Waverly Ave.); (718) 576-3584. Brunch dishes range from $8 to $16, and cocktails are in the $11 range.
Brunch in Williamsburg is such a see-and-be-seen nightmare of Ray Bans and tousled ombre bedheads that even the relatively staid side of the neighborhood on Graham Avenue has fallen prey to hour-long waits as of late. Not so at Mahzen Grill, on Grand Avenue, between Graham and Humboldt.
While Mahzen Grill is a Turkish restaurant, their menu hits all the right brunch notes–you can choose from standard American breakfast fare like pancakes, eggs benedict and a build-your-own-omelette, or lunchier grub, like a grilled chicken sandwich or salad, or, and this is what we recommend, sample a Turkish dish like menemen. If you’ve seen shakshouka on menus and food blogs lately–a traditional Middle Eastern dish of eggs poached in tomatos and peppers and served with pita or crusty bread–menemen is very similar, but with scrambled eggs. You can also get sucuk or pastirma, Turkish charcuterie, alongside your eggs. Mimosas are available, but we recommend the belini at brunch. And, while it’s not on the brunch menu, if you ask nicely they will usually make you an order of zucchini pancakes from the regular menu–they’re moist, crispy, feta-studded and dressed with a dill yogurt sauce.
Mahzen Grill, 739 Grand St. (close to Graham), (718) 302-2010. Brunch dishes range from $6 to $12, mimosas and belinis are $5.