03 October 2011

the breslin


I went with my mom this past weekend to hear a number of NYTimes-sponsored food & wine talks at the Times Center. The first, titled 'The A List', included Alex Guarnaschelli (of 'Chopped' and NYC's Butter), Anne Burrell ('Secrets of a Restaurant Chef'), Anita Lo ('Top Chef Masters' and NYC's Annisa) and April Bloomfield (NYC's Spotted Pig, John Dory Oyster Bar and The Breslin). The panel was wonderful, dominated by talk of inspirational ingredients and scarring memories, as well as sarcastic (though largely well-intentioned) banter between long-time friends Anne and Alex. April was comparatively quiet but, when she spoke, she was fantastic. Two particularly interesting facts: 1) as a child, she wanted nothing more than to be a policeman (and still occasionally finds herself looking longingly at the NYPD), and 2) she used to hate Alex Guarnaschelli, who once fought her (and won) for the last bunch of fava beans at the Union Square Greenmarket.

Anyway. After listening to April speak, my mom and I decided it was time to try out one of her restaurants, and we settled on The Breslin for brunch the next morning. The space is charming, dark and casual, crowded with leather-clad booths and loads of animal-themed knickknacks. They do not take reservations, but we had to wait only 10 minutes to be seated. The brunch menu, though not extensive, ranges from pancakes and oatmeal to eggs and homemade sausage. I tried the seasonal frittata - gooey eggs mixed with spinach and topped with parsley and a drizzle of olive oil - and the ricotta pancakes - unbelievably light and fluffy, filled with rich cheese and topped with macerated strawberries and candied almonds. Everything looked and smelled fantastic. I'm not a huge fan of greek yogurt, but even that (served with pistachio praline and honey) was appealing (and, according to my mom, absolutely delicious). The prices are entirely reasonable.

According to our waitress, waits for tables can be tough. So come early or late, and enjoy.

16 W 29th St (b/w Broadway and 5th)

  seasonal frittata with ricotta cheese
  ricotta pancakes with macerated market berries and candied almonds

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