New York Brunch
10 Restaurants Worth Waking Up For

New Yorkers start dreaming of weekend brunch on Monday, looking forward even to the daunting wait times and head-pounding hangovers that typically herald its arrival. To a stockbroker who spends his weekdays shouting on the NYSE’s trading floor or a bike messenger accustomed to weaving her way through oncoming traffic, brunch can feel like a supernatural phenomenon. The world slows down for a few precious A.M. hours, and the rush of the workweek gives way to spicy bloody marys, fluffy pancakes, and gooey eggs Benedict.
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Bowery: James Beard Award-Winning Chef

If you’re truly hung-over, it might be best to let your partner navigate Prune’s dizzying list of 10 bloody marys. Among the signature cocktails are a wasabi-infused concoction with a beef jerky swizzle and a gin-based bloody garnished with pickled egg. For all their creativity, the drinks don’t distract from a menu of New American cuisine.

Queens: Jazz-Age Decadence

IThe Astor Room pays homage to its predecessor—Paramount Pictures’ 1920s studio commissary—with live piano tunes and a menu that recalls Jazz-Age decadence with its eggs Benedict and chicken-fried steak. A stuffed beaver watches over the bartenders as they fill glasses with bloody marys and mimosas.

SoHo: Parisian Brasserie

More Paris than New York, Balthazar sets a leisurely pace with massive cups of café au lait and slender flutes of champagne. A favorite of regulars, the brioche French toast is baked fresh in the adjacent bakery. Call ahead to secure a seat at one of the iconic spot’s cushy banquettes.

Battery Park City: Shrimp Tacos and Lamb Bacon

Perch at the counter that overlooks North End Grill’s kitchen to watch as former Top Chef master Floyd Cardoz sizzles up shrimp tacos and lamb bacon. If you can peel your eyes away from Cardoz’s display of virtuosity, you might spy chef Alexandra Ray slicing up her beloved lemon meringue pie.

SoHo: Celebrity Chef

Celebrity chef David Burke is the mastermind behind this upscale eatery, which occupies three levels of The James Hotel. Play croquet in the outdoor garden or snack on a complimentary basket of fresh fruit, breads, and jams as you await a main course of berry-speckled French toast or an organic lobster scramble.

East Village: Sustainable and Locally Sourced

Floors of reclaimed hickory and tables recycled from ancient bowling alleys visually complement Northern Spy's eco-conscious menu. Local farmers, fishermen, and vendors provide seasonal ingredients, which chefs then transform into chicken and biscuit sandwiches, corned beef hash, and french toast garnished with candied pecans.

Red Hook: Asian Inspirations, Local Produce

A native of Seoul, Sohui Kim’s upbringing shines through in her menu of Asian-inspired brunch dishes. She uses produce from a local farm in Red Hook to craft bulgogi beef bibimbap, homemade dumplings, and spicy steak and eggs. An ebullient crowd of locals fills the dining room, which Sohui’s carpenter-actor husband has decorated with elaborate woodwork.

Nolita: Brunch on the Cheap

Mother’s Ruin is an oasis of unpretentiousness in Nolita’s jungle of high-end restaurants. The interior is charmingly bereft of frills, unless you count the slushy machine churning in the corner. The bartenders work as tirelessly as their mechanized counterpart, topping off brunch cocktails while chefs whip up their signature smoked trout hash.

Lower East Side: Blueberry Pancakes

After witnessing brunch-time crowds endure icy rains while queing up to try their blueberry pancakes, owners Neil Kleinberg and Dede Lahman mercifully added the dish to their dinner menu. Those who do brave the wait for a coveted table will be rewarded with a brunch of maple butter-coated pancakes and golden-brown buttermilk biscuits.

East Village: Bottomless Booze

New York’s reputation as an international city is bolstered by The Sunburnt Cow’s Australian bartenders, who show how they do things Down Under with a bottomless-booze brunch. If you spill a drink while dancing to the booming dance music, don’t fret. No glass of mimosa, screwdriver, or "Moo Mary" is left empty for long.