After writing the review of Permanent Brunch, the newly opened East Village restaurant dedicated to my favorite weekend pastime, I began to feel very optimistic about the expansion of brunch into the middle of the week. Whether Permanent Brunch was the catalyst for this movement or just the most obvious newcomer to a little known tradition, I was pleasantly surprised (actually I was ecstatic, but I gotta keep my poker face) to find that the weekday brunch trend is taking over Manhattan, or at least the East Village for now.
In addition to Permanent Brunch and Odessa, the East Village staple known for perogies and a never ending brunch, several other restaurants have adopted the weekday brunch as their own. These include Mediterranean bistros Virage and Cafe Brama as well as Aussie joint Bondi Road.
I tried the weekday brunch at Virage, twice, and was pleasantly surprised (again, ecstatic) with my options. During the first visit, all four of us brunchmates went for the Lobster Hash and Eggs with spicy hollandaise and crispy bacon. The plating was beautiful and the food was a delicious take on brunch. Though if you’re just craving lobster, you’d likely be more satisfied cracking claws at a seafood house.
On the second trip I was excited to try the Shakshuka, a ratatouille-like vegetable stew made with tomatoes, onions and peppers, which I had previously only had once during a trip in Israel. Three eggs are baked right on top of the stew creating a soft texture and runny yellow somewhere between poached and over easy, which counterbalances the tangy vegetables and the heat from the Moroccan spices. Pita and tahini are served on the side to cool your mouth down, but you’ll probably be too full from the tasty and filling dish to care.
While the Shakshuka is highly recommended if you’re looking for something different, Virage has more traditional items as well. Among the variations on Eggs Benedict, the Avocado and Roasted Pepper benedict and Crab Cake and Spinach benedict are both tasty options. Overall, Virage is a great place for brunch any day of the week.