Are we really in the midst of a brunch war? Maybe it's just New York, but last week David Shaftel of the New York Times fired a boom at eaters of the lazy meal with his piece Brunch is For Jerks. To sum up: I used to like brunch, but now everyone else really likes brunch (and plus I have a kid), so brunch is for jerks. I dunno, with sentences about brunchers like "Our once diverse neighborhood now brims with the homogeneity of an elite university" it sounds a bit Over40NIMBY (one commenter said: brunch isn't over, it's just over for you). But he's not the only one, it seems very fashionable to hate on brunch, according to Grub Street's piece It's Time to Shut Up About Brunch. To sum up: We get it, not everyone's into brunch, move on.
All of this informed my Saturday morning as I pulled into The Rookery for their new brunch. What would the NewYawhkers think of this? Maybe this is the anti-brunch to the brunching hordes. I really don't care. I thought it was great and like no other brunch in town.
Brunch is a Saturday only event, and you have to buy tickets ahead of time. That may be a bit hard for groups who don't have one sugar-daddy in the mix to buy the right allotment of tickets all at the same time, but get your friends coordinated and you should be fine. The deal is $40 (which includes tax and tip) for 10 courses, there's a pastry cart and a cheese board for extra nibbles, plus bloodies and such for purchase. If you're looking for a cheap morning meal of greasy hash 'n' eggs 'n' hair of the dog (and there's nothing wrong with that), this isn't for you. If you're not hanging over and looking for something a bit more interesting in the morning, attenzione!
Here's what I love: Sometimes I am vexed by the fact that I have to choose either savory or sweet for my meal (eggs vs. cakes) and I often get half-way through eating one only to pine for the other. With 10 courses of smaller plates, I was able to flow back and forth between both. Plus, there was very little decision making, which is a good thing when you consider mornings and lack of coffee. I loved that plates just kept coming and I never felt that gross heaviness that comes after inhaling a metric ton of hashbrowns. And yet it was chill and laid-back, the Travail intensity was dialed a bit down, appropriately.
And of course, the food was cool. Some:
A little beggars purse fashioned from crepe, cradling ham and califlower with a bit of bechamel. Yes, with your hands.
A perfectly solid tortilla Espanol with nutty romanesco sauce. See, not everything is odd.
King crab and avocado terrine, with perfectly good mayo, serrano peppers, and toast round.
Egg dog. Mmmmmmm. Softly scrambled creamy eggs in a casing under a lovely blanket of cheese and chorizo on top.
Blueberry sorbet in a clementine rind, on lemon curd. Palate cleanser.
There's nothing wrong with ending brunch by a tender hunk of steak and accompanying bit of frites.
Brunch haters would find this a unique experience, I am convinced. People with kids, who are you kidding, you can't brunch on a Saturday until the wee ones can drive themselves to soccer games and danceline practice, so just press pause. Brunch pros, feel free not to shower, pull on the uggs, and give it whirl ... You might suddenly find Moons Over My Hammy to be lacking. As of this posting, there are still some seats for for this Saturday the 18th at 12:30 and 1pm.