Brunch is an incredibly popular meal in NYC. New Yorkers get up late on weekends, put on some comfy clothes and prepare to go out with friends. Brunch is usually their very first meal, after just having balled through Friday or Saturday night. I love brunches in NYC, even though they irritate the hell out of me at times. I love them not because there’s anything extraordinary happening as you’re having them (although if you pick one that includes a string of Mimosas, something extraordinary may well happen). I’m fond of them for two reasons: first of all, they serve as a perfect excuse to meet up with your friends after a week’s worth of running around. Second of all, NYC offers so many places with amazing food, that I finally appreciated eating as a worthy pursuit – one may say I even became something of a foodie. The combination of exploring new places with meeting people who never fail to make you smile is perfect for a weekend afternoon.
What is the source of my irritation, then? It stems from the fact that eating out in New York (and that’s true not only of brunch) has one major fault: namely, it reminds you that this city is in a constant hurry. What does that mean? To make a long story short: you order, you eat, you get out. No one has time over here for prolonged meals and an hour-long conversation over a glass of water after the meal. There’s always a long line of people waiting to replace you at the table and watching you like a bunch of hawks.
That’s how it usually goes: the waiter introduces themselves and is exceedingly nice to you (most places here have excellent service), then they serve you tap water with ice, and are back to take your order. Usually, you don’t wait that long for food, but as soon as you take your last bite, the waiter will probably take away your plate. As soon as that stage is over, the waiter is back to ask if you’d like anything more, and when you say you don’t, a check materializes as if by magic. I often have a feeling that waiters here are actually reading my mind. I appreciate it when I’m the one waiting to be seated (in many places you need to wait as much as two full hours, even though I wouldn’t be caught dead waiting that long), but I’m far less happy about it when I am trying to relax and have my meal. The only advice I have for you is this: eat slow. Either that – or order lots.
Nevertheless, every time I’m off to have brunch, I have a huge smile on my face. There’s a third reason for that, separate for the two I already mentioned: having brunch is an excellent opportunity to do some people-watching. The better part of town you choose to eat (I’d suggest Chelsea and East Village), the bigger a chance of running across some really attractive specimens.
Brunches are served between 11 AM and 3 PM, and most restaurants run special brunch menus. The prices start at $9 and go up. As is usually the case in NYC, only the sky marks their limit.
Recommended places I intend on revisiting:
Saxon & Parole, 316 Bowery (at Bleecker)
Cookshop, 156 10th Ave