Fact: New Yorkers love brunch. They’re also busy people who don’t have time to spend hours trying to find appropriate brunch places for every occasion and mood. Luckily, Andrea Pappas started BrunchCritic.com to help New Yorkers with their every brunch need.
Need to impress a date? Trying to find the best price fixe for a large group? Don’t know where to take your awkward, recently divorced parents? BrunchCritic.com is an extensive resource to answer any of your questions.
The site has even started to release a series of downloadable brunch guides, which cater to various kinds of brunch lovers. This first release, “The Ultimate Bridal & Baby Shower Brunch Guide: Manhattan & Brooklyn,” is great for anyone planning a large group brunch. It features in-depth profiles of 22 restaurants, including photos of each spot, its pricing, primary contact information and optimal number of guests. It also categorizes restaurants by what you want and what you’ll get. For instance, Alma is the place you go when you want, “A gorgeous skyline view of Manhattan.” What you get is…well, you should download the free guide yourself.
She decided to start the website after informally suggesting and planning brunches for her friends and family. After chatting with her for an afternoon, it was clear she’s a brunch expert. When she goes to a brunch spot, she says she, “Evaluates the food on taste, creativity and presentation.”
Pappas was asked to provide her top 3 brunch restaurants in New York City. However, she had a hard time narrowing down her list, so instead, here’s Andrea Pappas’s best NYC brunch restaurants. She really feels passionately about her brunch.
Good – This restaurant is one of Andrea’s all-time favorites. “They have a large brunch menu and my favorite – pancakes – but 2 versions to choose: lemon ricotta and vanilla buttermilk,” she says. “Unfortunately, there’s often a very long wait, but that does show it’s a favorite among locals.” She recently tried the baked eggs full of cheese, leeks, pancetta and what she described as, “Nice, thick pieces of toast to dip.” She also described the toast as crispy, but not the kind of crispy that will scrape the roof of your mouth.
The price fixe is also good, no pun intended. $25 gets you drinks, an entrée and a starter. Plus, “Everything is delicious,” says Pappas. She finished this description by staring off and saying, “I could go there right now…”
Buvette – She ate here this morning, in fact. She says, “This is a great place to take out-of-towners, because it’s like a slice of France without being inaccessible. It’s a café meets a wine bar meets a full-service restaurant. The presentation of all their dishes is the special part. A mere croissant is served on a small plate, but Buvette takes the time to set a spoon on the plate that already has a dollop of butter and a scoop of jam on it. Buvette nails taste and presentation, and is consistent time after time.” However, she jokes that because, “Everything is prepared very delicately, everything from the utensils to the incredibly tiny water glasses might be too small for a linebacker.”
Blue Ribbon Bakery – She recommends sitting downstairs because of the restaurant’s special, cozy vibe. Not only is the downstairs seating area enclosed on all sides by brick walls, but it also shares the space with the restaurant’s brick oven bakery. What dish does Pappas recommend? Make sure to get the Blue Ribbon Bakery twist on the classic eggs Benedict, which is served with a red wine sauce.
The Smith – New York City is home to many popular brunch places, but few take reservations. The Smith not only takes reservations, but it’ll even take parties as small as two people. So, make sure to be punctual for that upcoming brunch date. Pappas says it’s a fun atmosphere that’s also great for groups.
Locanda Verde – Located in Tribeca, Locanda Verde is upscale and trendy. Pappas recommends ordering the lemon ricotta pancakes. The dish is served with blueberries and a beautiful lemon cream sauce. She also suggests the grits and shrimp, saying, “It’s the only place I can find a non-dry frittata!”
Park Avenue Spring – She described Park Avenue Spring as, “An upscale place that isn’t snooty. It’s classy, yet economical. The $35 price fixe allows you to experience a nice, upscale restaurant in New York without breaking the bank.” The most unique aspect of Park Avenue Spring is that the menu and interior decoration change every season. The restaurant goes as far as closing for 48 hours to change its floor. Check out the seasonal decorations and ingredients of Park Avenue Spring before it becomes Park Avenue Summer.
Prune – Prune has the longest wait for any brunch place in New York, but is the food really worth the wait? Pappas thinks so. “Hands down anything you get is going to be good.” Make sure to order the steak and eggs or the huevos rancheros. But, be prepared to wait for a minimum of 1.5-2 hours. So, before making the trek to Prune, find a friend who lives in that area who can put your name on the wait list.
44 & X – “44 & X serves what I think are the best [pancakes] in town, and it’s great to have sides included with your dish. 44 & X always serves sausage and fresh fruit on the plate as well. It’s annoying to have to order and pay separately for sides at so many other places.” She even says, “This may sound weird, but 44 & X, on their main floor level, has the best bathroom in New York City. It is so nice and always has fresh flowers, along with the ceiling chandelier.”
She concludes, “When people tell me they had a great experience at a spot I’ve recommended, I feel happy that I played a very small part in their positive experience. Those are good moments.”