On Saturday, we headed for the Cloisters (http://www.metmuseum.org/Works_of_Art/the_cloisters), which is an outpost of the Met. It was a gorgeous Saturday and the last time we were in NYC the concierge at our hotel mentioned that if we ever made it up there to check out the New Leaf Cafe, part of Bette Midler's New York Restoration Project (http://www.nyrp.org/newleaf/).
The space is beautiful and appears to be a converted old stone building/barn. The day we were there they were preparing for a wedding so the last seating for brunch was at 1:45pm. We got in under the wire and just in time as the place quickly filled to capacity. Inside, the space is rustic, with dark distressed wood and waiters bustling in a room full of people, yet not cramped with tables.
The brunch entrees are were all priced at $18.95, which was inclusive coffee or tea and juice. B chose the duck confit, which was served in an individual cast iron skillet and topped with what else but bona fide poached eggs and accompanied by a creamy pot of grits. The food was rustic and earthy and the eggs tied the whole dish together.
I opted for the homemade parpadelle bolognese. The papardelle were studded with thyme and topped with smoked mozzarella. The flavor was also rustic, but this dish was obviously a bit more substantial and meaty given the bolognese.
We both left happy and full.
The next day, Sunday (i.e. the day all in New York flock to brunch) we met friends in Tribeca at Bubby's (http://bubbys.com/). The ambiance was casual and homey -- perfect for six friends and a toddler to catch up. The food was fantastic and pricey and the service was, well, awful.
But, back to the food. B opted for the sourdough pancakes, which brought the art of the pancake to a whole new level and should have given the $17 price tag. The sourdough pancakes were topped with bananas and strawberries, and came three to an order. They were great and a bit hard to describe -- fluffy, dense, and rich all at the same time.
I had the chanterelle and shallot scramble -- fluffy eggs with huge chanterelle mushrooms , accompanied by a cross between charred breakfast potatoes and hash browns (excellent) and toast (which I was too full to even touch).
Brunch for two with coffee and tea, tax and tip was $52. Not cheap and cash only. The service was garbage. B had a coffee cup full of coffee grinds and it took all six of us--and fifteen minutes--to flag down a waiter, but I would still recommend Bubby's in spite of the price and service because the food was fantastic and the atmosphere pretty cool -- a homey brunch on steroids.