How to Pick Brunch in New York City
One thing I learned quickly when moving to New York City was that brunch is a big deal. Every restaurant open has a brunch special of some sort. My boyfriend and I came up with our criteria for picking a place to actually stop and sit. Below are 4 considerations we have, along with some tips for the optimal experience in the end.
1. Bottomless drink option vs. lower glass per glass. Of course, drinks are the best part of brunch. There are options for a mimosa, blood Mary and bellini in many locations. Looking through different places there were some with $5 per drink options, and other discounted prices. But if you're not in a rush and you feel you'll drink more than 2 glasses, go for the bottomless option. With these morning cocktails ranging from $11-15, you can reap the benefits of the bottomless drink price after 2-3 drinks. Deciding between choices requires a little bit of calculation but worth the cost-savings in the end.
2. Unlimited time for bottomless drinks. If you find a spot with bottomless drinks, check the fine print. Some places will have a time limit to keep a table. This makes total sense from a business perspective, but as a consumer if you want to be somewhere for a few hours to optimize your cost per drink ratio, unlimited time options exist!
3. See if you can eat at the bar. In case you can't find a place that has unlimited time for your bottomless drinks, eat at the bar. This eliminates depending on your waiter/waitress for refills.
4. Research the menu. This one is obvious. You'll want to eat with all of the bottomless drinks. Make sure the menu looks good!
Where's my favorite brunch place so far? In my neighborhood on the Upper West Side, that would be Ella Kitchen & Bar. This place hit all of the criteria. Bottomless drink option between mimosa, bloody mary, bellini, and cava for $17 with no time limit that we could see on the menu (we stayed ~1.5 hours). We ate at the bar and our bartender didn't let our glasses empty. We were able to switch between types of drinks - not sure if this was a bartender perk, but it didn't state against it on the menu. And the food. was. delicious.
Smoked Salmon Baked Eggs.Three eggs, multigrain toast & home fries. Eggs are cooked with heavy cream & parmesan cheese. Smoked salmon with chives, dill & cream cheese. This was so sinfully good with the cream and cheeses. It came out on a cast iron platter, allowing the parmesan cheese to continue cooking into a delicious crust. The cream cheese was splattered in dollops and served as a scrumptious surprise since they were camouflaged with the cream and egg whites. I would order this every single time.
Wellington Eggs Benedict.Poached eggs on house-baked English muffin, roasted chile hollandaise & home fries. Grass-fed skirt steak & sauteed spinach. My boyfriend got this meal, and let's just say there was no leftover. Can you blame him?
Where are your favorite brunch spots, and how do you pick them?