“To Brunch, or Not to Brunch…”

There is a question that divides New Yorkers into two distinct groups. It is an issue that has pitted brother against sister, that has caused grown men to weep, and has caused blood to rain down from the sky. That question is: “Do you want to go to brunch?” I’ve always been anti-brunch, and I’m not the only one. I don’t like brunch for many reasons: there’s usually a long wait, I don’t particularly like bloody marys or mimosas, I don’t usually drink coffee or tea, and the food is usually mediocre and overpriced. Recently I had three very different brunches in Park Slope — did any of them change my mind?


Little D Eatery
I met up with Donny and our friend Anh at Little D Eatery for brunch while Donny was staying in the neighborhood. Little D negated the issue of a long wait by asking if we wanted to sit at the bar — we did. The brunch menu was pretty standard, though drinks are not included in the price of the food. I went for the frittata of the day — it had “crispy potatoes” and a turkish cheese, accompanied by sourdough toast. The reason the potatoes are in quotes over there is that the potatoes were not at all crispy, despite being described that way by our server. The cheese was mild, not bad but it didn’t leave much of an impression. The toast was quite good.

Verdict: No wait, but mediocre food does nothing to change my mind.


Dizzy’s
Our friend Chris was in town for his brother’s wedding, so Donny and I met with him at Dizzy’s. I’d heard good things about Dizzy’s, particularly their brunch, so I was looking forward to it. We were told that the wait would be 15-20 minutes, but it ended up being closer to ten. First we were given a muffin basket with a side of strawberry butter. Yes, it was as good as it sounds. I got one of the specials — a buckwheat waffle with walnuts, topped with fresh mango.

The waffle itself was very good, the walnuts were a nice match with the buckwheat. The mangoes weren’t quite ripe enough, but their fresh bite really cut into the heaviness of the waffle. I had the option of coffee, tea, or juice, so I ordered the grapefruit juice. I was told that the juice that came with the brunch was bottled, but for an extra $1, I could get fresh. I sprang for the extra buck, and I was glad that I did. Donny devoured his steak and eggs, though Chris was not thrilled with his huevos rancheros.

Verdict: Slight wait, good food, free muffin basket; annoying juice policy aside, this was a good brunch.

Get Fresh Table and Market
After those two I had thought my brunch adventures were over. Then I went looking for a new place to eat lunch in Park Slope and I came across a story about Get Fresh Table and Market, which brags about using the best and freshest ingredients. It’s also the current workplace of Mark Simmons from season four of “Top Chef.” I noticed that they serve brunch all week during the day, and I thought it would make a great addition to my quest. Surely brunch on a weekday would be somehow better than brunch on a weekend, right?

There were only a handful of other people there when I arrived around 11:30am, so there was no waiting. I was told I could have my pick of seats, so I chose a table in the back patio. I ordered pancakes, as well as a side order of scrambled eggs. The eggs were only $3 (the pancakes were $12), and they were touted as organic, or free-range, or some other eco-friendly superlative. Actually, the eggs were extremely good; creamy and perfectly seasoned. I don’t think I’ve ever been served perfectly seasoned eggs in a restaurant.

The pancakes came with nutmeg butter and cajeta, sort of a syrupy dulce de leche. The nutmeg butter was a little jarring, but the cajeta was quite good (even if there wasn’t enough of it). The pancakes were light and good, but… I found a thin piece of clear plastic in one of the pancakes (I went back and forth about whether to mention this, but decided the fact that Get Fresh touts it’s careful ingredient selection and preparation made it worth mentioning. I will also mention that my server was very apologetic, and offered to have some new pancakes made [I declined the offer] and then gave me a 30% discount on them).

Verdict: The pancakes were not worth the price — but those eggs were pretty darned spectacular.

Overall, these three meals didn’t do much to change my mind about brunch. I may be a little more open minded now, but I will continue to regard brunch with suspicion until it has truly proven its worth to me.

Little D Eatery — 434 7th Ave, Brooklyn
Dizzy’s — 511 9th St, Brooklyn
Get Fresh Table and Market — 370 5th Ave, Brooklyn

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8 thoughts on ““To Brunch, or Not to Brunch…”

  1. i couldn’t hold it in. i gotta speak up. i love brunch. where did you read or heard that this divides NYkers into 2 distinct groups? what about the 3rd group, the group that doesn’t really care about brunch. also you make brunch sound like a monster of sorts, makes men weep? brunch, like dinner, usually have long waits also but that also depends which restaurant you go to. if its a great restaurant, of course there’ll be a long wait. i’ve waited 2hrs in the cold for dinner at lucali’s and tenka in the east village. if you don’t like tea or coffee or mimosas or bloody mary then don’t drink them. give them to me! also not all brunches are mediocre nor overpriced. again, you just got to find the right one. bubby’s has a GREAT brunch and not crazy expensive. sorry if i’m YELLING, i’m just passionate i guess. i feel you’re disliking brunch for reasons that aren’t very strong. =)

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    1. there can be no neutral “third group” in this war… you have made your allegiance known, and when the revolution comes you will not be spared.

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  2. I like brunch for its atmosphere and not the menu since I don’t eat eggs and not big on carbs (pancakes, waffles…) during lunch time. Salads are always scarce in the brunch menu and since it’s always a busy time, the kitchen often doesn’t offer substitutions, which is crappy since I don’t eat meat/eggs so any salad or dish with these items in it I can’t order. So often, I leave brunch still hungry. And yea, like you, I don’t drink alcohol, so AYCD deals don’t apply to me. I would rather frequent a restaurant that serve regular lunch/dinner menu than a brunch menu.

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  3. I love brunch because I love breakfast and I like to sleep late.

    I used to love the Juevos Rancheros at Beso on 5th Ave and Union. It wasn’t cheap, often a wait, and the service is very slow. We would laugh about how the wait service seemed high. But we really liked to food, juices like guava and papaya (not fresh).

    I guess you wouldn’t like it.

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  4. thanks for the post. i do fall into the love brunch camp, but i really cannot stand a bad brunch. so in brooklyn i have had a tough time finding something good. i also don’t factor in price though i should as i have never found a really good cheap brunch. so if you can deal with price, i think the best place right now in brooklyn is prime meats –tasty, fresh and good. i am definitely not a fan of little d so wasn’t surprised you didn’t like that, and am surprised you liked dizzies (we take the kids there, and they are always happy). i have not been to get fresh, but my husband has been telling me he loves those eggs so i’ll have to try it out. my favorite spot in ny is prune though there is a line Unless you get there at 9:45 a.m. which can be tough) and then for a fancier and a little more over the top brunch there is cookshop or 5 points, but those can be too much. and i like your blog, especially the market watch. i just joined you on twitter, and hopefully you’ll be posting those market updates there!

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  5. brunch is the devils work the people who go to brunch are usually extremely picky and try to change every dish they order. or you get the people hung over from the night before. not a good thing to have to be up early to see

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