Though brunch originated in England, New Yorkers raised it to an art form, and Brooklynites have put their own mark on the leisurely meal. In Brooklyn Heights, one can choose from reinterpretations of brunch classics, multicultural cuisines, and all-out culinary extravaganzas.
151 Atlantic Avenue (between Henry and Clinton Streets)
The inspirations for this restaurant’s weekend brunch menu come from far and wide. The asparagus omelet, for instance, made with wild mushrooms, Gruyère, and chives, is redolent of the French countryside; the buttermilk fried chicken and waffle is a nod to the South. And the smoked salmon served on a pretzel roll with dill crème fraîche, pickled onion, arugula, and a fried egg could have originated only in Brooklyn. The drinks maintain the globe-trotting theme, with options including an oh-so British Pimm’s Cup and a Provençal-in-spirit lemon-and-lavender soda.
60 Henry Street (at Cranberry Street)
Bevacco. Image: Ron Cogswell/Flickr
With its marble-top horseshoe bar and bistro-style seating and tables, Bevacco has a distinct Belle Èpoque vibe, though the menu leans more toward Italy than France in its flavors. This is reflected in such brunch offerings as ricotta pancakes, Italian Benedict—poached eggs with burrata, prosciutto, and tomato as well as Hollandaise sauce—and a variety of panini, pastas, and pizzas. The pizza with butternut squash, gorgonzola, watercress, and spicy honey sounds like a can’t-miss.
185 Atlantic Avenue (between Clinton and Court Streets)
What is weekend brunch like at a Middle Eastern-meets-New American restaurant? At Boutros, it means options such as shakshuka, a Maghreb dish of eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce; avocado hummus toast with fava beans, tahini, and fried chickpeas; challah French toast with ricotta and pistachio syrup; and classic steak and eggs. Be sure to whet your appetite with labneh crostini (labneh is a cheese made from yogurt) accompanied by Persian cucumber, radish, and spicy za’atar.
127 Atlantic Avenue (between Henry and Clinton Streets)
Colonie takes pride in using local and sustainable ingredients, so the menus change frequently with the seasons. When the season is right, you can start your weekend morning with the oyster offering du jour (recently a half-dozen raw oysters served with a cucumber mignonette sauce). Another option is to create your own cheese and/or meat platter with such delectables as bresaola and speck. Among the other eclectic offerings are pastrami-cured wild steelhead trout, duck hash, and shrimp and grits. Those with a sweet tooth will be hard-pressed to choose between monkey bread with toffee sauce and sticky date cake with crème fraîche gelato.
84 Montague Street (at Hicks Street)
The plentiful sidewalk seating is one reason Heights Cafe is a popular spot for weekend brunch, but the food—classics with a dash of Brooklyn flair—deserves credit too. Amid the omelets, frittatas, burgers, and waffles you will find squash-and-broccoli quiche with bacon and feta; eggs Benedict with crab cakes; and a salad made with kale, pumpkin-seed-crusted goat cheese, quinoa, apples, walnuts, and agave shallot vinaigrette.
66 Hicks Street (at Cranberry Street)
Given that this is a tavern, it’s not surprising that nearly half of Jack the Horse’s Sunday brunch menu focuses on alcoholic beverages: multiple Bloody Mary options, cocktails, beers on tap, wines by the glass. Teetotalers will certainly find plenty to savor among the food options, however. Eggs Orleans—organic poached eggs with crispy Barcat oysters, artichokes, and Hollandaise sauce served on a house-made English muffin—is an especially glamorous choice. Gluten-free buckwheat pancakes, organic cheddar grits with poached eggs, and a breakfast burrito with scrambled eggs, chorizo, Spanish rice, queso blanco, and salsa verde are among other highly tempting options.
220 Cadman Plaza West (between Middagh and Clark Streets)
Park Plaza. Image: Douglas Palmer/Flickr
As a traditional diner, Park Plaza of course offers all-day breakfast: standbys including eggs any style, omelets, pancakes, and French toast. On weekends, however, it pulls out the stops with a special brunch menu as well. The selections are somewhat more elevated. Take the wafflini club, a sandwich with maple sausage, fried eggs, chicken fritters, and Swiss cheese pressed in a waffle iron and served with garlic sweet-potato fries, or the jambalaya omelet, with Creole shrimp and smoked Gouda accompanied by a sweet-corn polenta. Kids—and those with a sweets-loving palate—will doubtless love the Nutella pancakes topped with cinnamon whipped cream and fresh strawberries. And adults will appreciate the Bloody Marys, mimosas, and rum punch.
One Water Street
The River Café. Image: Shinya Suzuki/Flickr
When the River Café opened in 1977, it was an anomaly: a lone eatery amid the industrial docks beneath the Brooklyn Bridge, insistent on serving fine cuisine. Today the Michelin starred restaurant is a dining destination, renowned for both its New American menu and its glorious views of the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline. Served only on Sundays, the prix fixe brunch menu encapsulates the restaurant’s overall philosophy. Among the appetizers are chilled Wellfeet and Kumamoto oysters served with lemon-pepper granita; hand-cut Wagyu steak tartare with quail egg and cognac gelée; and smoked and slow-roasted pork belly served with a poached egg, polenta, and candied kumquats. The mains range from embellished interpretations of brunch classics (the buttermilk pancakes are accompanied by “gold-dusted milk chocolate” and caramelized hazelnuts) to the extravagant (lobster served with sweet-and-sour butternut squash risotto; a vegetarian mushroom Wellington). A caviar service is available as well.
32 Joralemon Street (at Columbia Plaza)
The name may have you expecting egg sandwiches and BLTs, but River Deli is actually a casually elegant (and cash only) restaurant specializing in Sardinian cuisine. For weekend brunch, that translates into the likes of a pancetta-and-mozzarella omelet; baked zucchini with eggplant, tomatoes, garlic, and breadcrumbs; grilled Italian sausages with caramelized onions; and lasagna.