Sunday, 18 December 2011

Brunch at Bubby's, NYC

Coming from a city where we are very much still getting the hang of brunch, it’s a revelation to brunch in a city where the best meal of the week has been an institution for years. Yes, it takes up the large part of the day. Yes, you drink alcohol. Yes, you can read the papers and ignore your companions for at least some of the meal. Yes, you can take your child/dog/badly behaved friends and be a little raucous. Brunch is relaxed, frivolous and indulgent.

At Bubby’s you will queue for brunch, but with satanic chocolate cookies, pomegranate soda and lattes to keep you occupied, the waiting isn’t hardship. The restaurant is typical TriBeCa: surrounded by nondescript warehousy buildings and tarmacked and cobbled streets of little traffic. It’s also atypical TriBeCa, in that it has been popular for years, contrasting with it’s flash-in-the-pan neighbours.

The brunch crowd come for big plates of comfort food. There’s one thing that should be on everyone’s order: pancakes. I had the best I’ve ever tasted at Bubby’s. Vast disks of soft, but not too spongy buttermilk pancakes topped with churned butter and liberal DIY drenching with maple syrup. Pancakes come in different guises too – the sourdough version is a revelation, while banana and walnut is what I’ll order next time I go to Bubby’s.

The brunch staples are your classic egg/bacon/sausage variations with/without pancakes, plus scrapple (a sort of bubble and squeak). There was also Egg’s Benedict, Florentine and a lobster Benedict for the under-indulged. Steak and eggs and pork chop and eggs were the big protein hits, while granola, fruit and yoghurt and smoothies were the lighter options, but really, not in the spirit of brunch. Brunch cocktails, not served until midday, included Bloody Mary, mimosa and bellini.

The only other bemusement was that Bubby’s is cash only, of which you’ll need plenty, if like my table, the round of espresso milkshakes warrants a repeat order... Pastis is, like so passee. Brunch in NYC is all about Bubby’s.

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