With the amount of places we ate at in Brooklyn, only a few of them were for breakfast. Sometimes we just couldn’t be bothered heading outside in the morning and having to find somewhere for the first meal of the day. Bagels and fruit were almost always in the apartment kitchen, so that was enough for breakfast. Other times, a bit of effort was made in sniffing about the streets in search of some brekkie or brunch. Here are a few of the places we found.
Across the road from where we previously visited The Pines is a bakery and restaurant that offers a small-but-decent selection of breads and pastries. Runner & Stone gets it’s name from the runner and base stones that are used to grind grains in a traditional mill. Pretty fitting when you catch sight of the fresh breads displayed at the counter.
Aside from a couple of coffee’s, breakfast was nothing more than a fresh buckwheat baguette, slathered with house-made butter. It all felt a tad French as we crunched into still-warm baguette, sipping on coffee and listening to French tunes tinkering in the background. The friendly lady even gave us one of their new breads to sample. A Guinness rye. Very nice.
And just before we hit the pavement I had to devour one of the gorgeous freshly-made raspberry danishes.
Over in the heart of Williamsburg, just off Bedford Avenue, is Egg. The long and narrow room is simply decorated with wooden tables, folding chairs, and fresh flowers. There are even coloured crayons for the kiddies to go wild on the paper-covered table, or those plain white walls that are screaming for artwork. Ok, kids, don’t draw on the walls.
The breakfast menu features many varieties of, you guessed it, eggs. There’s even a bit of a Southern flavour about it. Organic grits & eggs (11), anyone? As the other half tucked into some plain toast & jam, I was dripping hot sauce over my sunny-side-ups and seasoning the grits with a bit of salt. Are you not meant to season grits when you cook them? Flavourless stuff it is. Loved the candied bacon. Also loved watching the milk swirl into my iced coffee. It’s the small things, folks.
On busy Atlantic Avenue is Bacchus – Le Cafe, an off-shoot of its older sibling Bacchus located right next door. The meal was more of a brunch affair and by the name of the place you’d have already worked out it was French.
Croissants and tartines grace the chalkboard menu, and one of the most indulgent quiches I’ve encountered. This quiche Lorraine (9.5) means serious business; constructed in a way I’ve not seen before. Thin and buttery pastry, a layer of salty lardons, and oozing layer of Gruyere and the lightest and fluffiest egg layer on top.
The croque madame (10) is equally decadent. Sliced ham sandwiched between two thick pieces of sourdough, grilled Gruyere, béchamel and oozing fried egg. Oh yes.
On busy Bedford Avenue, right next door to our favourite coffee shop Black Brick, is Maison Premiere. A hanging “Bar | Oysters” sign hangs above its entrance, giving little away to what lays on the other side of the front door. Once inside, it’s like stepping back into an older world. It may be a fabricated set-up but it’s done effortlessly and feels genuine. Old photograph prints, moulded frames, vintage lamps and fans, pressed metal panels and worn floorboards. You get the picture. The rear courtyard is pretty nice as well.
The brunch menu is kept brief but it’s the 30-odd oyster varieties that make people flock here. It was a little early in the day for me to indulge in oysters, but a few of them did appear in my bowl. Poached oysters with periwinkles, potato, leek & smoked caviar (17). A couple of poached eggs took centre stage; wading in the warm potato soup and spilling their golden innards when touched with a spoon.
A more conventional granola parfait (10) also made it to the brunch table, served with yoghurt and berries.
Lucky for us we had The Bagel Store a few blocks from the apartment. This place seems to be somewhat of an institution, coming out with a limited edition bagel every-so-often. I loved the French Toast bagel, and on one of the numerous visits was lucky enough to grab the Chicken Ramen Noodle bagel (see last pic). Regular bagel dough mixed with broken-up pieces of those instant noodles as well as the chicken seasoning. Or then you’ve got your regular Everything bagel, toasted with cream cheese.
The most famous of all has to be the Bacon, Egg & Cheese bagel. Delicious. I took it further and ordered it huevos rancheros-style. It’s filled with thin egg omelette, sliced jalapeño, red onion, pickled red chilli, tomato and cheese. Insanely delicious.
Buttery Garlic bagel with bacon, egg & cheese.
It was here that I tried my very first grits. Unlike the un-seasoned lump of grits I got at Egg, here at Seersucker the country ham & grits (14) was packed with flavour and didn’t have me reaching for the salt. Sunny side up eggs, some red eye gravy, I was in heaven.
The breakfast tacos (9) were pretty good as well. Served in an iron skillet are two soft tortilla’s generously filled with a scramble of eggs, potato and chorizo sausage that’s made in-house. Some spicy salsa roja heats things up a tad.
Way up in Greenpoint, the much less gentrified part of Brooklyn, is River Styx. The appeal here is the relaxed set-up and a brunch menu that’s a little different to many about town.
Thick Greek-style yoghurt with nectarines (7), sesame seeds and honey.
This is a bowl that had me swooning with every mouthful. Maccheroni (16) with pork, fennel & fish sauce. The large tubes of pasta were perfectly al dente, sauced-up with delicious strands and chunks of slow-cooked pork and a little fennel. You couldn’t even tell there was fish sauce in there as it merely added the seasoning. Nothing fishy about it.
A cinnamon roll (8) was also ordered, at the same time making me wonder why it was priced higher than any other cinnamon roll I’d seen elsewhere. It’s no ordinary cinnamon roll here at River Styx. A two-cup sized ramekin is delivered to the table, fresh from the oven.
For a second I thought we got the wrong thing, but in there is a pastry scroll that’s baked in the ramekin, doused with caramel and baked a little while longer. A little tricky to eat when it’s that hot, but good lord, it’s amazing. Especially the “toffeed” bits of dough that have fused to the ramekin, cracking and stretching as you try to pry them away from the dish.