Though it can feel a little frenzied, with crowds of people filling up the entrance way and tables pushed so close that you'll get to know your neighbors by the time the check arrives, the cheeriness, airiness and low-key atmosphere of Keith McNally's Pastis - his 1999 follow-up to Balthazar - make it the perfect place (many would argue one of the best in the city) for weekend brunch. The distressed wooden floor, brass details and displayed loaves of homemade bread, sprinkled with flour and individually decorated with flourished 'P's, give the feel of a Parisian brasserie. The food - we tried the omelette aux fines herbes and the steel cut irish oatmeal with sauteed bananas - is delicious. Everything was fresh and beautifully prepared. And though we didn't taste it, the special - poached eggs served on top of homemade crab cakes and creamed spinach, smothered in hollandaise - looked unbelievable.
The outdoor space - quiet, breezy, and on an appealing corner of the cobblestone-lined meatpacking district - offers a nice relief from the bustle of the main dining room, but Pastis doesn't take reservations for these seats. Come expecting great food, great atmosphere, and lots and lots of people: the frenziness of the place is part of it's charm.
9 Ninth Avenue (at 13th St)
omelette aux fine herbs
steel cut oatmeal with sauteed bananas