Nothing defines Sunday more than a leisurely brunch, strong coffee and the New York Times. Whether you are hungry or hung-over, brunch usually goes one of two ways: a disastrous carbo-loading caloric confection of French toast and pancakes or a packed plate of protein Atkins would be proud of. Nutritionally speaking, eggs are a superior brunch choice as they keep you lean and improve your memory thanks to their CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) and choline content. Who does the best eggs downtown without resorting to the ubiquitous omelete?
Here’s my Top Five for Best Eggs downtown:
Spoon – 17 W. 20th St, btwn Fifth and Sixth Ave, Sat and Sun 10:00 am – 4pm
Spoon is well worth the saunter to Flatiron. Ingredients are sourced from local farms and they turn out several exquisite eggs dishes from Huevos Rancheros to Eggs Spaniard with double smoked bacon to Baked Eggs with a potato and pork sausage hash. Or, if you’re bored with eggs, try the Brook trout with gorgonzola grits. Buttermilk pancakes, French toast and granola are also available for those running the marathon.
Morandi – 211 Waverly Place, cross 7th Avenue, Sat & Sun 10am – 4pm
Morandi is part of the Keith McNally clan of restaurants but much more ‘local’ than Balthazar and Pastis. With seven egg dishes to choose from you’ll be in uova heaven. My personal favorites, Uova in camicia – two poached eggs over artichokes, squash and mushrooms and Fricando di baccala – two eggs with salted cod and potato. Morandi does a frittata so large that you’d think you were at IHOP. Share it with four others. A basket of sweet bread with brioche, donuts and cornetti is also an option if you don’t mind spending $16 and gobbling metformin to lower your blood sugar spike.
Tarallucci e Vino – 15 East 18th Street, 130 Greene Street & 163 First Avenue Sat & Sun 9am – 5pm
Tarallucci has fewer egg dishes than the other eateries on this list, but they make it for their baked eggs alone. Two baked eggs in a skillet with either leeks, asparagus or bacon, it is the leanest of all eggs dishes sampled. For something more indulgent, try the poached eggs over polenta and porchetta or the speck and goat cheese frittata. The baked mackerel salad with grilled artichoke and orange zest is delicious way to get your omega 3’s in when eggs just aren’t your thing. Whole wheat croissants, apple turnovers and cinnamon rolls are also on offer but as the bread basket comes with mini-muffins and foccacia, save some cash by skipping the pastries. Brunch is from 9am so it’s ideal if you’re up early or jet lagged.
Corsino Cantina 637 Hudson Street Sat & Sun 10:00 am – 4 pm
Take a seat at the Corsino Cantina bar, throw back an espresso, sample everything (nothing is over $11) and read their copies of Bon Appetit and Conde Nast. From truffled egg toast to scrambled eggs with asparagus and prosciutto to house cured salmon & egg salad tramezzini, Corsino is the sexiest brunch choice. Head back in the evening for charred octopus with fingerling potatoes and the autumn vegetable salad with sunchokes and walnuts.
Your own home – Hours vary
Throw on a white tablecloth, add some colorful plates from ABC Home and whip up a ricotta and mint frittata. Serve with iced hibiscus tea and French press. Buy the ingredients from the Union Square market or Eataly (but mid-week, there’s a line to get into this place on the weekend) and voila, you’ve got the best brunch in the city.
Got a favorite brunch spot – let me know.