If you’re anything like me, when you wake up hungry on the weekends you eat something at home fairly soon after rising and then start thinking about LUNCH. Not brunch.
I will always choose Chinese food for breakfast. Thank (insert whomever or whatever you worship here) for dim sum! Don’t get me wrong, I love a fried egg and toast slathered in butter and preserves with a fiery passion. But I can make that myself, at home, at 8 or 9 a.m. in about, 3 minutes?
Sadly for me and the others like me, New York City is a brunchers town. Everyone just loves brunch– though I suspect it’s only a certain group of 20 and 30-somethings who truly partake, and the rest of us are meant to wax nostalgic about the days when we were out until 3am, waking up at 10 or 11 a.m. and wanting food ASAP, preferably with a cocktail on the side.
Not all hope is lost, however. Some restaurants understand that simply putting an egg on top of an entree doesn’t necessarily make it better. And there are always spots that don’t traffic in brunch at all–typically sandwich shops and “ethnic” restaurants. Bless them.
Deemed the “other Lilia” by some food worshipers I know, Barano is the South Side’s answer to Missy Robbins’ hit on the North Side. But while Lilia does not serve brunch (smart!), Barano does, and luckily for us, the wood-fired Italian restaurant fills the menu with some decidedly non-brunchy dishes like fried rabbit with biscuits served with two dipping sauces, Calabrian honey and lemon oregano marmelatta, bucatini carbonara (ok, there’s an egg on top but it works), and a breakfast bowl with farro, kale and tuna belly.
26 Broadway, Williamsburg
The Franks know what’s up. They rarely change the menu at their eponymous Court Street restaurant, and they serve it at weekday brunch, dinner all the time AND AT BRUNCH. (French toast and a frittata are also offered on weekends.) If you want delicious pastas, perfectly prepared salads and vegetables or crostini with inspired toppings like ricotta, honey and black pepper, this is the place. This is always the place.
457 Court St., Carroll Gardens
Chef Dale Talde does a killing at this brunch, arguably one of the very best in Park Slope. You can get the restaurant’s beloved pork, pretzel and chive dumplings with spicy mustard, an inspired take on chicken and waffles where the chicken is flavored with kung pao flavors and a breakfast ramen, which is actually quite delicious. The broth is “buttered toast” flavored, and of course there is bacon. Not one omelette or pancake appears on this menu.
367 Seventh Ave., Park Slope
Peruvian restaurant Llama Inn opened at the end of 2015 and has proven to be one of the most inventive and fun restaurants in Williamsburg. If you’re looking for something that stands in contrast to the new American you’re offered at most spots, check Llama Inn out, and yes, even at brunch. Try corvina ceviche with sweet potato; fried chicken with the Peruvian fried dough ring called picarones and fermented hot sauce, or the restaurant’s most compelling dish, changed up ever so slightly for brunch: the beef tenderloin stir-fry, with french fries, crema, banana and a fried egg (yes, sometimes putting an egg on it is a good idea).
50 Withers St., Williamsburg
For authentic corn tortilla quesadillas and huaraches, there’s not much better than Acapulco, just about a block from the bridge to Queens in northern Greenpoint. This hole-in-the-wall has consistently turned out great eats, and I have a friend who eats there on his birthday every year. The restaurant serves “American” food too, but trust me and concentrate on the Mexican food menu. (I ate their cheeseburger deluxe plate A LOT when I was broke and living around the corner about a decade ago–not bad. -Ed.) The pernil tostada and carnitas tacos are not to be missed.
1116 Manhattan Ave., Greenpoint
A trip to Roberta’s must always include at least one pizza, a salad (the menu is constantly tweaked) and an order of Roberta’s bread and housemade cultured butter, dusted healthily with flaky salt. That doesn’t leave much room for brunch dishes, now does it? Sorry, not sorry.
261 Moore St., Bushwick