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For the Love of Brunch

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Hidden Gem! Bell Book & Candle for Brunch in the West Village

October 25th, 2014 by Special K
All You Can Drink Brunch, Eggs Benedict, Foodie Find, Pancakes, West Village

If you’re not paying attention, you might just miss out on a great West Village brunch spot. Bell Book & Candle, a subterranean eatery on W. 10th Street, has a following for dinner and cocktails but they also know how to do a great brunch.

BB&C’s philosophy is all about local, organic, sustainable, responsible procurement. In fact, the menu is highly seasonal and heavily influenced by what is available from their aeroponic roof-top garden.

Bell Book & Candle

You’ll find this this “hidden” gem by looking for a wooden sign painted with “BB&C” on it hanging off the side of a building. Look down and you’ll see a few steps leading you to the basement level where you’ll enter through the bar. Once you make it to their cozy dining rooms, their farm-to-table philosophy translates into a delicious brunch you can feel good about eating.

Heirloom salad with buttermilk bleu cheese

Heirloom salad with buttermilk bleu cheese

We started our meal with the day’s special salad, heirloom tomatoes (from the roof-top garden) topped with a homemade buttermilk bleu cheese dressing. The creamy dressing and bright flavors of the fresh heirlooms set the stage for the rest of the meal.

Offering a range of traditional breakfast and lunch items, BB&C also has a few smaller plates from their dinner menu  (like their famous lobster tacos) if you feel like mixing it up, though we stuck to the brunch stuff!

Blueberry buckwheat pancakes

Blueberry buckwheat pancakes

Steak and eggs benedict—high-quality steak and perfectly-poached eggs with a well-matched Béarnaise sauce—was a hearty and satisfying pick. On the sweeter end of the spectrum, we tried the blueberry buckwheat pancakes, which may have been more impressive—soft, fluffy, and full of fresh blueberry goodness, topped with real Maple syrup.

Steak and eggs benedict

Steak and eggs benedict

Everything was so good that we didn’t have room to try other items we’d heard were excellent like the BBC burrito and those aforementioned lobster tacos. And we won’t even get started on the dessert menu we had to pass up…

Looking for a boozier brunch? BB&C offers unlimited brunch cocktails (options include aperol spritzer, bellini, spicy mary, mimosa) for an additional $20.

Add a little adventure to your weekend and go find BB&C! The food is quite special, especially given how much of it is grown on-site. But we were most impressed with the consistent quality across different types of items—their chef knows brunch. So whether you’re looking for classy, boozy or somewhere in between, BB&C should be on your brunch list.

Overall: 5/5 Hearts

Website: http://bbandcnyc.com/

Address: 141 W. 10th St., New York, NY 10014

Brunch hours: 11:30am – 3:30pm (Saturdays and Sundays)

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The Black Ant Kicks Off Innovative Mexi-Brunch in the East Village

September 15th, 2014 by Special K
Alcohol, East Village, Eggs and Omelettes, Eggs Benedict, Foodie Find, Mexican, Special Occasion

It’s no secret that we at I Heart Brunch have a soft spot in our hearts for Mexi-brunch, so we’re always excited about new restaurants that can satisfy that craving. From the same folks behind Ofrenda in the West Village, The Black Ant has been open in the East Village for a few months now and just added brunch to their menu, so we were eager to try it out. We’re happy to report that The Black Ant lived up to its early Yelp hype and did not disappoint!

Let’s start with the ambiance. It’s a really fun space—long and narrow and somehow modern and vintage and trendy all at the same time. There is a range of seating options from traditional to bench seating facing the bar (great for solo diners) to tall cocktail tables with barstools on the small street-side patio (great for people-watching).

And the service was great as well. Everyone we met was so friendly and seemed truly passionate about the food. They were happy to make recommendations (and accommodations) with a smile, and got us excited about options we might not have necessarily considered without their explanations.

Ensalada Mixta

Ensalada Mixta

And oh yeah…the food! We started with the Ensalada Mixta, a pretty mixture of heirloom tomatoes and arugula and fruits to kick our meal off on a lighter note. We tried to stay “good” and skip the guacamole, but thankfully listened to our server and tried it—yum!

For the entrees, the winner was hands down the Huevos Pochados con Langosta, Black Ant’s take on a lobster benedict. Perfectly poached eggs were carefully placed atop a generous portion of fresh lobster on warm jalapeno biscuits and covered in a chorizo gravy. It was a rich and hearty dish that holds up to some of the best benedicts around and we’re still licking our lips thinking about it.

Huevos Pochados conn Langosta

Huevos Pochados con Langosta

The vegetarian in our party noticed that the menu lacked a savory veg option. It would be nice if they added a veggie option to the menu, but the server was more than happy to work with her to create a modified version of Los Rancheros de Teresa. This basically turned into a create-your-own scramble, accompanied by sides of black beans and hash browns, which were actually more like finely diced home fries. Probably not how the chef intended it, but we were satisfied and appreciated the accommodations.

Los Rancheros de Teresa

Modfied vegetarian version of Los Rancheros de Teresa

We nearly ordered the Pan de Dulce —a Mexican-style French toast with Manchego toast, salted caramel, berries pico de gallo, and verbena ice cream —for dessert but we were just too full. We’ll have to get it next time along with the Duck & Eggs or Grilled Octopus Bacon Roll that we sadly missed out on trying.

Overall, The Black Ant is a welcome new Mexi-brunch in a city that doesn’t have enough. Try it before everyone else discovers it!

Overall: 4.5 hearts

The Black Ant

60 2nd Ave (b/t 3rd and 4th St.) in the East Village, NYC

Website: http://blackantnyc.com/brunch/

Brunch Hours: 11am – 3pm (Saturdays and Sundays)

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Bottomless Brunch By Any Other Name at LIC’s Creek and the Cave

August 9th, 2014 by Bloody Kimmy
Alcohol, All You Can Drink Brunch, Bloody Mary, Chilaquiles, Huevos Rancheros, Long Island City, Mexican, Mimosas, Outside Seating, Queens

Looking for something off the beaten path (but not too far off of it)? Then you might want to check out The Creek & The Cave, which offers a tasty excuse for a mini day trip to Long Island City!

The Creek & The Cave, a local bar and grill turned comedy club in the evenings, added brunch to its menu about a year ago. It offers a range of Cali-style Mexican food, which we’ll discuss, but the real draw is specialty drinks such as the two-in-one Murderfist , tequila and Tecate over Bloody Mary Mix, and $0.25 Mimosas (no that wasn’t a typo—25 cent Mimosas!!) weekends from 12-4pm. We didn’t expect much for that price, however these mimosas are served in a highball glass and had the perfect champagne-to-OJ ratio, so they really are a great value.

Bloody Maria + Tecate

Murderfist drink at Creek and the Cave

We went on a warm summer day and enjoyed a lazy afternoon out in the spacious back patio. We started with the Homemade Salsa Sampler, a bowl of homemade tortilla chips filled with a flavorful house salsa, fresh chunky pico de gallo, and cool guacamole. They were all delicious, but the smooth, tasty guacamole was the unanimous favorite.

Backyard at Creek and the Cave

A few mimosas later, our entrees arrived. Our waitress had recommended the Huevos Rancheros and after the first bite we understood why—the mix of eggs, cheese, beans, guac, salsa, and sour cream on crunchy tortillas had an authentic taste that we still crave. But I may have actually liked the Chilaquiles even more though, and I’m typically not a huge fan. They were so perfectly soaked in the spicy salsa verde that they almost melted into the accompanying eggs and skirt steak.

Huevos Rancheros at Creek and the Cave

Deliciously messy Huevos Rancheros

Chilaquiles with steak at Creek and the Cave

Chilaquiles Verde with Skirt Steak…YUM!

If you’re not in the mood for breakfast, you’re in luck—The Creek & The Cave offers a wide range of traditional lunch/dinner entrees. We tried the Yoga Burrito, and felt healthier with every bite. The whole wheat tortilla and range of veggies might sound like something you could get anywhere until you add in the goat cheese for an overall different burrito experience. This was just one of the many vegetarian-friendly options—there is even a vegan enchilada.

Yoga burrito at Creek and the Cave

Yoga burrito, one of the veggie friendly options

All of the food was great and entrees hover around ten bucks, but the best reason to try The Creek & The Cave is because it’s one of the best boozy brunch deals we’ve discovered. Oh, and if you want some entertainment in between those $0.25 Mimosas, The Creek & The Cave has eight pinball machines and comedy shows all night long.

Overall rating: 4 / 5 hearts

The Creek & The Cave
10-93 Jackson Ave. (at 11th St)
Long Island City, NY 11101
Brunch menu

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DIY Prosecco Brunch at Sotto 13 in the West Village

February 22nd, 2013 by Brunchmaster
Alcohol, All You Can Drink Brunch, Bloody Mary, Brunch Pizza, Drinks, Eggs and Omelettes, Fancy brunch, Foodie Find, Italian, Mimosas, Special Occasion, West Village

Valentine’s Day may have passed, but that doesn’t mean romance has to go completely out the window. At least not if you plan on dining at newly opened Sotto 13, a West Village Italian tapas restaurant named one of “America’s Most Romantic Restaurants” by Travel + Leisure.

Sure to be loved by aspiring mixologists and romantics alike, Sotto 13 features the city’s first Do-It-Yourself Prosecco bar that allows brunchers to become their own mixologists with a bottle of prosecco and a tray of five mixers, including signature fresh juices, liqueurs and toss-ins like candied ginger, fresh berries and more. Brunchers can use the provided recipe card or freestyle it to craft their very own bubbly brunch cocktails. Priced at $55 per DIY tray, which includes one bottle of Prosecco, the concept isn’t easy on the wallet but makes for a unique experience for that special occasion.

DIY Prosecco Bar at Sotto 13 Brunch

DIY Prosecco Bar at Sotto 13

For the more budget conscious brunchers and the boozehounds, Sotto 13 offers a $25 AYCD boozy brunch that includes your choice of a couple tapas or a wood-fired pizza and unlimited brunch cocktails for 2 hours. With AYCD beverage choices that include bloody mary, mimosa, raspberry white-peach bellini, sangria and screwdrivers, you’re sure to find something that will keep the buzz going.

Tuscan Poached Egg at Sotto 13

Tuscan Poached Egg

Brunch highlights include Italian inspired breakfast tapas like Cacio e Pepe with soft scrambled eggs topped with Cacio cheese, Baked Crispelle spinach ricotta crepes with creamy tomato sauce, and Tuscan poached egg on rosemary foccacia with pomodoro and parmigiano. A variety of crisp wood-fired brunch pizzas topped with all sorts of toppings like buffalo mozzarella, spicy fennel sausage, wild mushrooms, grilled vegetables and more, round out the self-proclaimed “Social Italian” menu.

Cacio e Pepe at Sotto 13

Cacio e Pepe

So whether you’re feeling romantic, in the sharing mood, or you just want to get your drink on, Sotto 13 has a new twist on brunch that will surely satisfy.

Sotto 13
140 W. 13th Street (between 6th and 7th Ave)
West Village, NYC
(212) 647-1001

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Williamsburg Kitchen Opens for Brunch in East Williamsburg

December 15th, 2012 by Brunchmaster
East Williamsburg, Eggs and Omelettes, Eggs Benedict, French Toast, Williamsburg

Nearly a year after writing about the burgeoning Grand Street in East Williamsburg, a new restaurant, Williamsburg Kitchen, recently opened with a vision of bringing a little modern flair to the neighborhood’s mostly generic offerings.

An offshoot of Bushwick Kitchen, which opened last year in the adjacent Brooklyn neighborhood, Williamsburg Kitchen’s new Euro-American fusion cuisine offers some exciting options for both brunch and dinner. Executive chef Luis Santos, formerly of L’Artiste in Queens, seems to push the boundaries a bit more on his dinner menu, which I’ve yet to try, while offering a more simplistic, yet refined menu for the brunch crowd.

It had barely been open a week when I visited, so there was still some work in progress as evident by the lack of descriptions on the Williamsburg Kitchen brunch menu and coffee not being readily available. This wasn’t too off-putting as they’re working out the few kinks of getting up and running. Luckily they executed where it counts as the food highlighted the afternoon’s brunch experience.

Eggs Nova at Williamsburg Kitchen

Eggs Nova at Williamsburg Kitchen

Wanting to sample the menu, my friend and I shared three different brunch entrees all of which are $12 each. We started with Eggs Nova, a classic smoked salmon benedict served with mixed greens and home fries. The eggs were perfectly poached and the hollandaise was buttery, yet light as a nice complement to the salmon. The seemingly simple home fries were nicely sautéed and seasoned with turmeric, giving them a beautiful, bright yellow color and a delightful flavor to match.

We also tried the Bruschetta “Sandwich” as it’s listed on the menu, which was a bit confusing since it’s not really a sandwich. Chopped pears and crumbles of Roquefort cheese sat atop pieces of toasted baguette and topped with a delicious truffled balsamic reduction. The sweetness of the pears combined with the saltiness of the cheese and the touch of acidity worked really well together, though I’d probably suggest this as an appetizer to share rather than a main course.

French Toast at Williamsburg Kitchen

French Toast at Williamsburg Kitchen

The French Toast, again lacking a menu description, was a true surprise when it arrived to the table beautifully plated. Topped with orange marmalade and a drizzle of mixed berry glaze, the challah bread was browned to a nice crisp on the outside with a soft and chewy center that almost melted in my mouth. Syrup was served on the side, but it seemed unnecessary given the fruit toppings. I rarely order French toast at brunch unless it’s particularly unique, but I’d consider returning to Williamsburg Kitchen for this if it’s consistently executed.

Overall it is a promising start for Williamsburg Kitchen and I look forward to seeing how the menu and service evolves with the neighborhood. At the time of review, they did not serve alcoholic beverages, but were applying for their beer and wine license.

Williamsburg Kitchen

804 Grand St (b/t Humboldt St and Bushwick Ave)

Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY

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