Brunch might be maligned by some, but I personally love brunch. I love taking a few hours out each weekend for a leisurely meal, especially after a work out at Barry’s Bootcamp. My favorite place to brunch in the neighborhood is Locanda Verde, but unless you are willing to get there at 10am or not eat until 3pm, the waits are kinda ridiculous. For those who live in the downtown area, North End Grill is a great alternative – great food, accommodating service, and nice ambiance. It is also a relatively large restaurant, so on most Sundays, you can just walk in and grab a table, no wait.
To start, the husband and I always share a croissant…
But not just any croissant. It’s a maple bacon croissant ($5)! One of the best breakfast pastries ever! The top of the croissant is brushed with an ultra thin layer of slightly sweet glaze and when you cut into the croissant, it is filled with bacon cooked in maple syrup. YUM!
Next, we shared a corn chowder with clams, rock shrimp and linguica sausage ($14). This was very tasty, but not what I expected, the chowder was very thin and watery. It looks like they made the broth from boiling corn cobs but didn’t really incorporate corn bits in the soup. So while I enjoyed this soup, it wasn’t really exactly what I was looking for.
For his main, he had the Johnnycake benedict with lamb bacon, poached egg and chipotle hollandaise ($17). I didn’t taste this dish, so I cannot vouch for its level of deliciousness, but this is the third time he has ordered it, so it must be good!
For my main, I got the Lobster egg custard with sea urchin and bonito flakes ($17). Not typically the type of dish I would order at brunch but once I saw egg custard and sea urchin, I was sold. This dish was an umami bomb! From the bits of lobster, to the lobster broth incorporated in the egg custard, to the sea urchin, to the fluttering flakes of bonito – it was non-stop flavor. Very very delicious – a ridiculously decadent incarnation of chawanmushi. I high recommend this dish, if you are willing to part with preconceived notions of what a brunch dish should be.
North End Grill is a great additional to the Battery Park City/World Financial Center/Tribeca neighborhood. I hope more people are willing to ‘trek’ down here to give it a try.
North End Grill – 104 North End Avenue New York, NY 10282
Tip: For families with children, they are very accommodating!