Brunch in Fort Greene
We all know brunch is a NYC tradition. Luckily there are a myriad of options in the neighborhood so you never have to go into the city again… Here are my thoughts on a few.
This neighborhood classic never fails to satisfy. After at least 2 years of ordering the same thing (chicken crepes), I’ve finally started ordering other things. I always felt like I could get eggs benedict anywhere so why order it here? On warm days it’s a great place to people watch and since it’s French owned you can sit there all day long before they bring you the check (or water sometimes). While the service can at times be shoddy the place is an institution. I wouldn’t get too adventurous in what you order but they do the basics very well.
Chez Oskar’s little sister Chez Lola also has a solid brunch but lacks the social atmosphere of it’s older sibling. It also lacks the crowd (at least so far) so you reliably get a table here during the brunch rush between 12:30 & 2. As for the food, it’s excellent. My salmon breakfast (house cured salmon, potato cake, scrambled eggs & sour cream was great. Basic, but good. The drink menu is actually better than Oskar and it’s not quite as French so the wait staff is a little more timely with regard to actually getting your order, bringing your food and giving you the check. The back yard is great too.
One of my all-time favorites. Brunch with a Senegalese touch. The fried chicken and french toast is amazing. The omelettes are incredible. I hear the burgers are also off the charts. This place only has maybe 6 tables so you’ve got to get there early. I almost didn’t mention this spot and I won’t divulge the location because I really don’t want it to get so crowded I can’t go. On second thought, the food is horrible. The service is atrocious and the hours are irregular… YOU SEE THE PICTURE. DOES THIS LOOK LIKE A PLACE YOU WANT TO EAT??? DON’T GO!!!! STAY AWAY!!!
While this place gets the most fanfare of all the neighborhood spots, I’ve never been overly impressed. Don’t get me wrong. It’s good, but not fantastic. The service usually sucks as well (French). So my usual order is the shirred eggs with a side of grits. Again it’s good and the backyard is nice. They do have great coffee (one of the benefits of it being French). Bloody Mary is a winner too… I’m a proponent of the fresh, local food concept but in reality I think people’s perception of this place makes them think the food is better than it actually is.
This place seems to be hit or miss. I’ve had good brunches here and not so good brunches here. From what my friends tell me my bad experience was an anomaly so maybe I’ll give it another shot soon. While the inside can seem a bit cramped, they do have one of the more romantic backyards around if you’re trying to score points with your boo (I laughed at myself for typing that… Boo. Funny). Anyway I’ve enjoyed my dinners here more than brunch.
Probably my current favorite. Part of the Moe’s, Maggie Brown, Pequena restaurant empire and one of the few spots that serves brunch every day. The menu has all the brunch standards with a Mediterranean touch. My usual order: Green Eggs & Lamb (scrambled with fresh cilantro, tomato and red onion, served with merguez lamb sausage and pita) or the steak and eggs or an omelet. Great mimosas.
Night of the Cookers
Mmmm… The only place with real soul food for brunch. While the atmosphere isn’t what it could be (tables lined up cafeteria style), this is real comfort food and one of the few longstanding restaurants in the neighborhood. They were here when there wasn’t much else around and I’m happy to see their business is still brisk. It’s not a mind blowing culinary experience but it is at least predictable. Chicken & waffles, blackened catfish, decent egg dishes, good drinks. Service can be hit or miss but if you smile a little and show your server some love it usually works out fine.
Others I have not visited for brunch:
Habana Outpost – This place is too hip for it’s own good. I’ve only been for drinks and appetizers.
The Speakeasy – Went for dinner, very good.
Madiba – Like the vibe but I’ve never been overly impressed with the food.
Caffe & Vino – Haven’t been but I hear good things.