Weekends are for trying new things. But if you aren’t sure what to do, here are some ideas: Buy a cat. Or learn Mandarin. Or go to a vintage store, acquire some ’80s fashions, then ride the Staten Island Ferry and pretend you’re Melanie Griffith in Working Girl. Or, you know try a new brunch spot. Here are some places that are worth checking out. Bring some friends. They’ll assume (correctly) that you’re a very cool person.
New To The Brunch Hit List (as of 11/15): Old Rose, Win Son, Kubeh, abcV, Shuka
We wouldn’t blame you for assuming the new restaurant in the Jane Hotel would be the kind of place to avoid on a Saturday at brunch. But most people still haven’t discovered Old Rose, and you should use that to your advantage. The space is also big and bright, so the next time you have to organize a group brunch, suggest this place. Your friends will be impressed that you know about it, and you can pretend that you don’t care how impressed they are. The menu is mostly Italian, but not the heavy kind. At brunch, you can get things like an egg sandwich, olive oil cake, or a pizza. Both the clam and vodka versions are excellent.
Kubeh is a Middle Eastern spot, and they specialize in a type of dumpling soup (which the restaurant is named after). Despite this place being both new-ish and quite good, it’s still under-the-radar. So if you’re tired of eating the same omelet every weekend, grab a table here or sit at the bar up front. And if dumplings aren’t what you’re looking for, you can get some waffles or eggs with fried zucchini. Bring a brunch date or just come with a friend when you’re both slightly hungover and just want a low-key spot with great food.
For a casual brunch with interesting food, go to Win Son. This East Williamsburg place makes Taiwanese/American food like minced pork with eggs over rice, pan-fried dumplings, and a Taiwanese version of chicken and waffles. Two more reasons we like it: everything is pretty affordable, and it’s fun. Win Son is typically always filled with neighborhood people, and if you come with a group, you can try to grab one of the big tables with Lazy Susans.
This is a vegetarian place, but vegetarian or not, you’ll like the food here - especially at brunch, when you can get a dosa filled with egg and cheese. If you’re trying to be healthier, you can get some lettuce cups or a brunch bowl with blueberries and peanut butter. The dining room here sort of feels like a nice, big art gallery (without the art), and it’s the perfect place to grab some food with your aunt after an afternoon at the wax museum. Or just bring a few friends who don’t need bacon.
Shuka is from the same people behind Cookshop and Vic’s, and, like those places, it’s nice enough for a meal with someone like your old college professor, but not so expensive that can’t come here last-minute with friends. The food is Mediterranean and you can start your brunch here with some cinnamon rolls or ricotta fritters or both. There are also some healthier things like beet hummus and a grain bowl, although chocolate babka French toast is also an option.
VHH foods is an all-day place from the Vinegar Hill House people on the waterfront in Dumbo, and the view from the patio will remind you why you haven’t moved to California yet. It’s super casual, and at brunch, you order from the counter. They do things like pastries, breakfast tacos, yogurt with granola, and some eggs with curried chickpeas - and the food is overall better than you expect from a place with plastic plates and paper napkins.
The type of food they serve at Chez Ma Tante is tough to pin down. At dinner they have things like pierogies and roast chicken, and at brunch, you can get falafel, a hot dog, an excellent caesar salad, or an egg sandwich. You can also get what are probably our favorite new pancakes in the city. They come crispy and topped with butter, and you should order them. For now, this place is fairly under-the-radar, and you should take advantage of that. Stop by for a low-key brunch in a cozy space in Greenpoint.
Golda is a tiny spot in Bed-Stuy that’s currently only open in the daytime. It looks kind of like a coffee shop, but there’s a surprising amount of food (that you order at the counter). They have such things as a fried chicken sandwich, an acai bowl, and a plate of cauliflower that comes with a soft boiled egg and a magenta sauce. So if you’re going to brunch with someone who lives to take pictures of food, this place is a good choice. It also helps that dishes are all around very good - although the toast with strawberry jam, foie gras, lemon curd, hazelnuts, and chocolate is just a little too confusing. Know that there aren’t many seats, and you might have to wait for one.
De Maria isn’t going to be your new hangover-brunch spot. But if you just want to eat something kind of healthy for brunch, come here. The food is actually good, and the avocado toast isn’t the same version everyone else is doing. The space also looks great. It’s pretty busy for brunch, so expect a wait - or better yet, make a reservation.
There’s a lot going on at Sunday in Brooklyn. It has multiple floors, there’s a takeout cafe, and you get the impression that someone lost a lot of sleep picking out plates and flower pots. Then there’s the food. It’s like brunch on steroids. The pancakes come covered in a hazelnut praline syrup, the breakfast sandwich is the size of a burger, and their house bloody Mary comes with mezcal. Get all of these things. Also, this whole place is very photogenic. So if you need to take some pictures, take some pictures.
The owners of Banter used to work at Two Hands, and there are a lot of similarities. They’re both Australian coffee shops, and they both serve more food than you expect. But Banter feels more like a restaurant (and they have a full liquor license). It’s still casual though - the sort of place where you can hang out and eat a piece a toast with someone who needs 40 minutes of your time to tell you about their experience at Burning Man. Come by for brunch and have a banh mi or a bowl of vegetables. There might be a wait (this place is small), but you can always head nearby to Dante for a pre-brunch drink.
Lalito is doing its own thing, and we’re very okay with that. It’s a new restaurant in Chinatown from the former chef at El Rey, and you can get some vegan chicharrones here. Or a caesar salad with seaweed and nutritional yeast. If any of that sounds iffy to you (as it should), just know that the food here is actually very good. At brunch they do breakfast tacos, but you can also get coconut grits or some granola with roasted yams. Bring someone who’s down to try something new.
Half hip diner, half coffee/sweets/egg sandwich take-out situation, Kirsh should be at the top of your UWS brunch hit list. They take their French toast very seriously, they have a solid burger, and there are plenty of quality eggs to go around. This is definitely a sleeper on the UWS that isn’t as packed as other popular sports (like the temporarily-closed Jacob’s Pickles). They also have a kids menu, in case you have children or enjoy eating small portions of food because it makes you feel like a giant.