I can attest MJ Armstrong’s is a great place to play F**k the dealer until 3 AM. And I’ve also heard it’s a great place to do brunch. So I gave it a try.
I have this group of friends that go there every Sunday: rain or shine, sleet or snow (you get the idea). Now I’ve never been so lucky as to make this tradition a part of my weekend ritual but I can appreciate the concept. Last Sunday, I attended said practice and was excited to see what all the hype was about. I mean, I had heard stories of mimosa’s clanking, Bloody Mary’s arriving in pairs, French toast made of hotdog buns and Nandi: the world’s most patient waitress. My expectations were, to say the least, that I was going to heart the shit out of this brunch.
Let’s be honest – the joint smelled like a foot. And I know that I need to cut MJs a little slack because it is, after all, a bar. So I will not go into explicit detail describing the hangover scented restaurant.
Anyway. I ordered an egg-white omelette with bacon, cheddar and caramelized onions, which were all cooked to perfection and would have been a delicious addition to my egg white mixture had the eggs been cooked completely. They were not. Under the plentiful layer of melted cheddar was a pool of uncooked egg whites just begging to keep churning bacteria.
However, once I got past the collection of undercooked whites, I found a delicious brunch awaiting my fork. The toast was toasty, the hash browns were hashed and the bacon was crispy (and piled high and deep, which I think every girl would welcome). This place has sides and toppings down. So, the, you know, ‘meat’ of the meal wasn’t cooked all the way, what’s a Sunday brunch without a game of Russian roulette with the threat of food poisoning?
I am glad to say that the mimosas were a generous dose of champagne accompanied by a splash of orange juice (which I think was mostly for color). Nandi was delightful. The atmosphere was college-ish and I did appreciate that the TV screen in my direct eye-line was music trivia (I never knew Gloria Estefan had so many number one hits!). Perhaps most importantly, the price was right. It was about 15 buckaroos (when all was said and done) for this fun filled afternoon and I didn’t even get food poisoning, all that worrying for nothing!
329 First Avenue (at 19th St)
New York, NY 10003
Hearts: 3 out of 5
Price: $12.95 including any two drinks
Table stickiness: Moderate
Grease on plate: Pool-ish
Bartender: Heavy Handed…Holla!
Restroom Cleanliness: Yep, it’s definitely a bar.