Brunch is a big thing in Brooklyn, a prized weekend outing to meet up with friends and linger over a meal. Around midday, join a hungry, sleepy, possibly hung-over, but well-styled crowd of locals “doing brunch” at one of these favorite neighborhood restaurants.
Picture a dining room in a country cottage with dark wood baseboards and mismatched vintage wallpaper—you could be in Bavaria, except the room is filled with chatter about high rents and cross-fit training. The menu at Nate Smith’s new gastropub varies based on what the well-known chef finds that day at the farmers’ market. On a recent Saturday afternoon, dishes included the hearty Hash and Eggs (with Yukon golds, smoked pork, and rosemary, $13) as well as my favorite, the fortifying Frittata (with grilled red pepper, ricotta, and kale; $13). For a spirited boost, order the Cowboy Coffee (mocha with a shot of bourbon).
124 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn, NY; L subway to Bedford Ave.; Website: http://allswellnyc.com.
133 Wythe Ave., Brooklyn, NY; 718-486-9222; L subway to Bedford Ave. or East River Ferry to North Williamsburg; Website: http://www.cafemogador.com.
Baby’s All Right
Follow that skinny guy with the shaggy beard and the “Williamsburg is Over” t-shirt, as he parks his bike in front of this understatedly hip bar with the feel of a basement rec-room from the 70s. This popular retro nightspot with a dance floor and big-screen TV also serves up an excellent brunch. Grab a diner booth and indulge in some French toast or an egg sandwich with a nice strong Ethiopian coffee as a dj spins your perfect afternoon soundtrack of old-school punk rock. Special: $30 includes entree and unlimited mimosas.
146 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY; 718-599-5800; Subways: J/M to Marcy Ave. or L to Bedford Ave., or East River Ferry to South Williamsburg; Website: http://babysallright.com.
On the edge of McCarren Park in nearby Greenpoint, sits this charming hashery that repeatedly tops reviewers’ best brunch lists. Believe the hype. There are good reasons to queue up for a seat in this cramped little cafe. The food is amazing and the decor (as well as the patrons) are delightfully shabby chic. The star of the menu is the decadent stack of Ricotta Pancakes (topped with honeycomb butter and fresh fruit; $13). And on a cold day, nothing beats the warming Steel Cut Oats (with banana, walnut, and brown butter currant; $7).
18 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn, NY; 718-383-5345; Subways: G to Nassau or L to Bedford Ave.; Website: http://fiveleavesny.com.
You’ll get a chance to mingle with the fashionable foodie set (and possibly their cooler-than-you toddlers), as you join the long line outside George Weld’s buzzy brunch spot. Egg, which recently moved from its location on North 5th Street to this roomier, light-filled space, employs the same farm-to-table approach and dishes out Southern-style comfort food like Eggs Rothko (served on brioche and topped with Grafton cheddar; $11) and the Country Ham Biscuit (served with a side of grits; $9).
109 North 3rd St., Brooklyn, NY; 718-302-5151; L subway to Bedford Ave. or East River Ferry to North Williamsburg; Website: http://www.eggrestaurant.com.
A holdout of hippie-hipster culture with a low-key brunch vibe, Lodge welcomes folks with the warm hospitality and the decor you’d find in a homey mountain inn. Materials for the interior, including the wood-panelling and the deer antlers that make up the chandeliers, were harvested from a camp in the Adirondacks—and the food is all locally sourced. So, you can feel really good about digging into the nicely prepared Biscuits & Gravy (with home fries and bacon; $8) or the velvety Tofu Veggie Scramble (with a side of vegan sausage, $12). In warm weather, snag an outside table for some great people-watching.
318 Grand St., Brooklyn, NY; 718-486-9400; Subways: J/M to Marcy Ave. or L to Lorimer St.; Website: http://www.lodgenyc.com.
A brunch round-up in Williamsburg would not be complete without including a good Mexican place, and the 10-year-old Taco Chulo remains one of the best. Chulo means handsome, which also describes the cheerful modern dining space with bright red walls. A side order of the Cheese Cornbread and a fresh-juice Mimosa (they’re 2 for 1) should get you off to a good start. Follow with the Huevos Rancheros (eggs over easy, corn quesadilla, tomatillo sauce, and crema; $11), or the giant Breakfast Burrito (eggs, rajas, potatoes, salsa, refried beans, bacon or vegan sausage, $11). You won’t leave here hungry or sober. Cash only.
318 Grand St., Brooklyn, NY; 718-302-2485; Subways: J/M to Marcy Ave. or L to Lorimer St.; Website: http://www.tacochulo.com.