SoHo’s Best Brunches
The number of restaurants in SoHo that serve weekend brunch is overwhelming; it might be easier to find one that does not offer brunch! Even narrowing down the neighborhood’s best brunches is a challenge, but it is one we accepted. Below are some of our favorites.
41 Mercer Street (between Grand and Broome Streets)
Antique Garage serves a side order of live jazz with its weekend brunches, just as it hosts live jazz performances every night of the week. But while the music might be reason enough to stop by this former auto shop, the eclectic menu provides added incentive. Although the interior nods to Belle Époque Paris, the menu has a decided Mediterranean influence. In fact, the brunch menu includes the Mediterranean Breakfast, a potpourri of organic jams, honey, cheeses, yogurt, a hard-boiled egg, olives, tomatoes, peppers, and a simit, the Turkish equivalent of a bagel. Small plates include grilled halloumi and tomatoes wrapped in grape leaves and grilled zucchini slices stuffed with goat cheese, bell peppers, and dill. Paninis, lamb skewers, salads, and manti—pan-fried puff pastries filled with minced beef and yogurt sauce—are also options. If you cannot bear the thought of brunch without eggs, other selections include an omelet made with organic eggs, spinach, artichokes, mushrooms, and goat cheese.
210 Spring Street (at Sixth Avenue)
Osetra caviar with blinis, one of Aquagrill’s more luxurious brunch options. Image: Aquagrill
As its name suggests, seafood is Aquagrill’s specialty. Its Exotic Brunch Seafood selections live up to their name as well. You can choose European osetra or American royal sterling caviar served with warm buckwheat blinis and crème fraîche, oysters, clams, Jonah crab claws, and Maine sea urchin, as well as a medley of the above. Less exotic but no less tasty are entrees such as grilled Atlantic salmon and fresh fettuccine with shrimp, tomatoes, and pesto. The menu also includes more-traditional brunch options including eggs Benedict (and variations with crab or smoked salmon), challah French toast, and blueberry or banana pancakes. Soft truffle polenta makes an unexpected alternative to hash browns. Between bites you can sip a Bellini, a Bloody Mary, a mimosa, or a decadent chocolate martini.
80 Spring Street (at Crosby Street)
Brunch at Balthazar. Image: Tjeerd Wiersma/Flickr
A SoHo institution, Balthazar would look right at home on the Champs-Élysées. This glimmering brasserie has its own bakery, and the fragrance of fresh-baked baguettes is a familiar one to those who frequently walk by the corner of Spring and Crosby Streets. Sticky buns, brioches, and pains au chocolat are among the baked goods highlighted on the brunch menu, but you do not want to fill up on those, as there is so much else to indulge in as well. Among the French comfort food options are onion soup gratinée, French toast made with brioche, and eggs en meurette—eggs poached in a red-wine sauce, served with mushrooms and bacon lardons. Hardier fare includes beef Stroganoff and steak frites. Balthazar has a raw bar too, along with a special assortment of what it calls “hangover drinks,” including a Bloody Mary made with Clamato rather than tomato juice and the Ramos Fizz, a concoction of gin, lemon and lime juices, milk, and egg white. Finish off your brunch with a cheese plate or a treat from the bakery—apple galette, anyone?
359 West Broadway (between Grand and Broome Streets)
The century-old building that now houses the Cupping Room was originally the site of a coffee wholesaler (“cupping” refers to blending varieties of coffee), so it is appropriate that the restaurant offers an array of coffee options, including red eye (coffee with a shot of espresso), flat white, café Vienna, and a multitude of flavoring add-ins. Those who want a libation with a different sort of kick can choose from five Bloody Mary options (made with horseradish-infused vodka, paprika, and cayenne pepper, the Mary Go Round is a real eye-opener), among other cocktails. If you plan on ordering eggs Benedict, you can customize the dish with the likes of grilled tuna, avocado, turkey bacon, and roasted red peppers. Omelet options and burger toppings abound as well. And we defy anyone to still be hungry after completing the French toast stuffed with mascarpone, strawberry filling, granola, and raisins.
189 Spring Street (between Sullivan and Thompson Streets)
Even if you think the cronut, Dominique Ansel’s signature creation, is overrated, you will find plenty to sate your appetite here. The eatery’s rendition of the classic egg sandwich is made with Gruyère and a mini brioche; the spinach quiche also showcases Gruyère; the grilled cheese features three cheeses (mozzarella, fontina, and yes, Gruyère) on garlic-rosemary sourdough bread, served with caramelized-onion marmalade. It is almost impossible to come here without indulging your sweet tooth, however. But First, Coffee, espresso-soaked cake served with coffee crémeux and dark-chocolate mousse, is a must for java devotees, and just about everyone will love the baked-to-order miniature madeleines straight from the oven. Those with gluten intolerance do not have to miss out: Gluten-free options include grapefruit panna cotta and matcha mousse cake complemented with passion-fruit curd and white chocolate.
131 Sullivan Street (at Prince Street)
In its eclecticism, the Dutch’s brunch menu exemplifies its New American cuisine ethos. You can opt for a healthy fresh-pressed juice blend (the Twenty/Twenty, a medley of carrot, orange, grapefruit, and apple juices enlivened with ginger is especially refreshing), a vanilla chia bowl with citrus and coconut-cashew granola, or Pacific kampachi crudo served with Meyer lemon and Urfa chili. Or you can say to heck with the diet and indulge in the Dutch’s famed doughnut tree (a variety of house-made doughnuts in flavors such as coconut lime and peanut-butter chocolate), its equally renowned hot fried chicken, cornmeal flapjacks with blueberry syrup, or sourdough waffles with orange marmalade. The restaurant has a raw bar as well. Whatever you decide, be sure to order a side (or two!) of honey butter biscuits.
224 Lafayette Street (between Broome and Spring Streets)
Dean Jankelowitz grew up in South Africa; his wife, Maya, in Israel. The menu of their restaurant, Jack’s Wife Freda, reflects the influences of both. Shakshuka, considered by some a national dish of Israel, is of course available, though this version is made with green tomatillos. A national dish of South Africa, spicy peri-peri chicken, appears as well, as an exotic alternative to buffalo wings. Grilled halloumi, mustard-seed-crusted tofu with spaghetti squash, and rosewater waffles topped with Lebanese yogurt, berries, and honey syrup are among the other options. Big eaters will like the restaurant’s take on the classic fry-up: two eggs, grilled skirt steak and tomato, fingerling potatoes, pickled onions, and sourdough toast—add a side of the house-cured duck bacon for good measure—while those in need of something comforting will take refuge in the matzo ball soup. Beverages include cantaloupe mimosas and mint lemonade, and you can end your meal on a sweet note with flourless chipotle chocolate cake or a South African favorite, malva pudding, a sticky, spongy cake ladled with a cream-based sauce.
142 Mercer Street (at Prince Street)
You will find all the brunch standbys on Lure Fishbar’s menu: buttermilk pancakes, brioche French toast, huevos rancheros, salads, burgers. And like many of its neighboring restaurants, Lure has a raw bar so that you can feast on oysters and clams while savoring a Bloody Mary. Unlike other SoHo brunch menus, however, this one includes sushi, sashimi, and dim sum. Signature rolls such as the Hellfire (spicy tuna and kimchi sauce tempered with brûléed tuna, cucumber, and avocado) and the yellowtail jalapeño will rouse even the sleepiest brunchers; steamed lobster and shrimp dumplings and crispy seafood potstickers will complement just about anything else you might order. For a taste of Down East rather than the Far East, have the lobster roll on a brioche.
463 West Broadway (between Prince and Houston Streets)
Many say that Sadelle’s bagels, made on the premises throughout the day, are the best in SoHo; some go so far as to say its bagels are the best in all of New York City. Its reputation is such that reservations are all but required for weekend brunch. While Sadelle’s Everything 2.0 (with fennel and caraway seeds in addition to the usual poppy and sesame seeds and dehydrated garlic) and onion bagels (with onions, leeks, and chives in the dough) are flavorsome enough on their own, you do not want to miss out on the fish. The restaurant is nearly as revered for its house salmon as for its bagels; sturgeon, sable, whitefish salad, and salmon are among the other options. Not sold on bagels? You cannot go wrong with the cheese blintzes, blueberry pancakes, Waldorf salad, or scrambled eggs with caviar. Start things off with matzo ball soup or veal pelmeni, a type of Russian dumpling. Sadelle’s even offers gluten-free plain and everything bagels. Be sure to pick up a house-made sticky bun for the road.