Sadly enough, I have no fabulous, exotic plans for this coming holiday weekend, and will be stuck in the city very glamorously babysitting my parents’ cats. On Sunday, as it turns out, I’m shooting a small part in a movie, but other than that I’m wide open, and I anticipate being quite hungry at many points. So I asked my friend Andrea, founder of BrunchCritic, if she had any ideas for those of us who’ll be wandering the empty streets this July 4th.
I know BrunchCritic also includes restaurants that have “lunchie” items. Are there any places that you love that have BBQ-type stuff, so I can pretend I’m at a cookout? Hamburgers, hotdogs, ribs, that kind of thing?
I’m a huge fan of Blue Smoke. It’s nice to walk into a true BBQ establishment that has great food, but also an attractive interior. In Blue Smoke’s case, the loft-like ceiling and exposed metal let you enjoy spicy BBQ wings in an airy, relaxing space.
Now, I’m not downing mimosas these days, but way back when I was all about the unlimited cocktail brunches. Which are your favorite affordable places with good food and buckets of Bloodys?
I really enjoy entertaining groups of friends at Harry’s in the Financial District; their weekend brunch is definitely a good time. While a lot of restaurants say they offer unlimited drinks, many of them are slow to refill your glass or don’t offer high-quality alcohol, but at Harry’s, when it comes to refills they are On It, and the champagne cocktails are very good.
Park Avenue Tavern also does a good brunch, and their $2 mimosas are hard to beat. And while it’s a bit cliche, Essex is still one of my favorites. It’s fun, lively and trendy, and the mac & cheese and huevos rancheros are delicious. While their “rule” is 3 mimosas (or other cocktails) per person, experience has shown that they lose track and just keep the refills coming.
And finally, I need to know: what are your absolute, hands-down top three favorite places for a summer brunch in the city?
1. Gramercy Terrace at the top of the Gramercy Park Hotel. No contest…see the photos. This is a must, must, must. I didn’t even want to mention it because I am afraid of it getting too crowded. But alas, I’m passionate about sharing the best brunch places with my NYC friends.
2. Gasconge in Chelsea. The outdoor back patio is a true urban oasis. I love taking friends, visitors, and family here, and as part of the 3-course prix-fixe I always order the appetizer of escargot wrapped in phyllo.
3. David Burke Kitchen at the James Hotel. I’ve consistently referred friends and visiting out-of-towners here for the farm-to-table dining experience, and they love it. They recently opened their outdoor garden, and it’s wonderful for summer brunching. It’s a large space with cabanas, umbrella-covered tables to shield you from the sun, and a chef’s table. (BC recommendation: the light but flavorful watermelon gazpacho.)