I was a kind of disappointed with this (completely adorable) brunch place. It really was just too cute, and their menu sounded amazing but everything that came out of their kitchen was consistently, meh. They had a cardamom cappuccino, and being a lover of both cardamom and cappuccinos, I thought it sounded interesting. It tasted really good for about the first third of a cup, then I just was over it really quickly and didn’t want anymore. The waffles and hash browns were ok. The biscuits and gravy somehow had a slight fishy taste to them, that just really made them hard to finish. It does seem to be a neighborhood favorite and was recommended to me by a friend, so who knows, maybe they were having an off day and spilled fish sauce in the gravy.
On our first Greenpoint restaurant venture, we headed to 5 Leaves, which we’ve been meaning to try for a while. I ordered the baked beans, which was a lot of baked beans over a big piece of bread and (of course) the end result was a huge piece of soggy bread. Chris, however, ordered the “Big Breakkie” and was delighted with his meal and, when he finished licking his plate clean, ventured over to try some soggy bread and agreed that his had been much better. I really want to like this place because it’s really very charming, but maybe I’m not easily impressed by brunch food. I’ll need to go back for oysters.
photo from http://www.snackish.com
We’ve been here a couple of times for brunch, and I always leave pleased. The brunch is pretty reasonably priced, and though the portions can run a little small depending on what you order, it’s always good and the coffee is excellent. It’s pretty tiny but there’s rarely a wait for brunch, I think it’s better known for its dinner. The huevos rancheros have been one of my favorites, and the home fries are so good, I wish they’d put more than 4 on my plate.
(The quality of this photo is not great- it’s super dark in there!)
So, I really like brunch. I also really like Groupon (www.groupon.com) so when I saw one of my favorite restaurants offering an amazing deal on Groupon, I took it. I was a bit hesitant at first; using a Groupon can be frustrating because it often overwhelms the business. El Ay Si is really narrow and only has a few tables.
That being said, I was pleasantly surprised. We were seated right away and I ordered my usual Eggs Benny. One of my dreams is to be able to eat eggs benedict every day and not gain a pound. This will not happen, ever. El Ay Si offers a slightly altered version; with creamed spinach between the bread and the eggs. I like to think it’s healthier!
The service is amazing. Our waiter remembered us and was super friendly. Unfortunately, they no longer offer the 2 drink special with brunch. Now you only get one drink (choice of bloody mary or mimosa) with brunch, but our waiter comped our second drink because we are loyal customers.
I’ve only eaten the Eggs Benny here, but I’ve sampled their Shepherd’s pie and omelette- both extremely yummy. Their coffee is a very bold flavor and is included with every brunch. I love this place!
The New York magazine wrote a review describing this place as having “good, honest el cheapo grub”. I don’t know if perhaps things have changed since the Smith has opened, or they have a different version of “el cheapo”, but I wouldn’t describe this place as a great brunch deal. Most entrees were between $14 -18 and all the brunch drinks were $11.
The food was pretty good, but I don’t think the food is what’s bringing people to The Smith; it was completely packed with hip, attractive NYU students. This place is always busy, so you can expect to wait a while and like I said, the food was good but I don’t know that it’s necessarily worth waiting.
On a side note, for all my architects, they had great bathrooms.
photo via yelp.com
On Valentine’s Day, we headed over to Public for brunch. The line snaked around the entry way, spilling out to the stairs and street area. Once the doors opened, it was pandemonium; people practically RAN to the tables. With no host visible, we walked over to a table and were immediately barked at by a very angry looking hostess. “DID ANYONE HELP YOU WITH YOUR TABLE?” My boyfriend almost lost it, but kept his composure (it WAS Valentine’s Day, after all!) We were confused about this because everyone else just waltzed right in and picked their own table. Maybe we aren’t posh enough to be eating at Public.
After the angry hostess sat us, the service was excellent. We ordered Bloody Marys that made us cough, which is a good thing. Perfectly spicy and strong.
On to the food. Dan ordered the pork roll, which came on a quinoa hashbrown. Unfortunately, the majority of the pork roll was fat. Not the good kind of fat that you eat after promising yourself to go to the gym tomorrow; the kind of fat that is chewy, gross and totally inedible. The hashbrown was a little overcooked, but still had some good flavor.
I ordered the turkish eggs, as per a friend’s suggestion. It was the best choice! Two poached eggs in a sea of yogurt and some kind of chili flavored oil. I know what you’re thinking, eggs in yogurt? But it worked. It worked so well I never wanted the meal to end.
All in all, I was satisfied with my meal, while my boyfriend had some issues with his fat/pork roll and the questionable greeting (I also was not thrilled with our rude hostess.) The interior has some interesting light fixtures, questionable mirror choices, and a cool bathroom. I felt a little out of place among all the models and fabulous Europeans, but I will return for more turkish eggs!