New York City is famous for its pizza, and in the past three and a half years that I’ve lived here, I’ve made a point to try as many pies as I can. From Prince Street Pizza’s Detroit-style square pizza to the wood-fired pies at Roberta’s, I’ve crossed plenty of pizza places off my list, but one lesser-known spot still tops my list of favorites.
I had dinner at Adoro Lei in Hudson Square about a year ago and have been hooked ever since, bringing in friends and out-of-town guests whenever I get the chance, so I was beyond thrilled when partner and creative director Michael DiBugnara invited me in to try the restaurant’s brunch menu recently.
I brought along my friend Hanna, and as any good brunchers would, we started with cocktails. We both ordered a glass of sangria — I went with the blanco, and Hanna opted for the traditional. Our drinks were tasty and a great way to start the meal.
As we sipped, we looked around to admire all the fun, vibrant artwork by Dessie Jackson that adorn the walls.
As for food, Adoro Lei’s brunch menu is pretty extensive, so we had a hard time deciding what to order, but we both agreed a pizza was a must. There were almost 20 different pies to choose from, but we ended up ordering my favorite, the Pietro, which is a red-sauce pie with marinated cherry tomatoes, basil, pecorino, wild arugula, prosciutto, parmigiano shavings, and truffle oil. This pizza was as good as the first time I had it, and Hanna agreed that it was a great choice.
When it came time to have another drink, we decided to switch it up and both ordered the Silent Assassin Punch, which tastes just as strong as the name makes it sound. We were both feeling a bit of a buzz after this boozy beverage.
We also ordered the breakfast sandwich and the Brussels sprouts. The breakfast sandwich was one of the best — maybe even the best — I’ve ever had. Made with bacon, Manchego cheese, tomato, and scrambled eggs, the sandwich felt lighter than your typical breakfast sandwich but still had all the flavor. My favorite part was the fresh baked panini bread.
The Brussels sprouts, mixed together with ham, onions, craisins, and nutmeg, also hit the spot for me, but Hanna thought they lacked a little flavor.
In addition to what we ordered, the general manager, Chris, brought out two of his favorite dishes for us to try — the Bam Bam Hearts Pebbles waffles and the truffle cauliflower.
Neither Hanna and I are big fans of sweet brunch dishes, but the waffles looked and smelled too good to pass up a taste. Served with strawberries, fresh whipped cream, Nutella, and Fruity Pebbles, this was a super sweet dish that Hanna and I surprisingly both loved. I’d never order this as my main, but it’d be great to order as a dessert for the table.
The truffle cauliflower, made with caramelized onions, red pepper flakes, grated pecorino, and lemon, was another standout dish. You could really taste the truffle, and I love a healthy dish that’s also tasty.
After we ate, we were taken downstairs to tour the private party room, complete with an Adoro Lei-branded backdrop and rack of fun clothing you can try on and take pictures with your brunch group. Had Hanna and I not just come from working out, I could totally see us spending some time down there taking all sorts of fun photos. Between this unique space and the DJ playing cool beats upstairs, Adoro Lei is a great place for a fun party brunch with the girls or a birthday celebration.
Bitches say: Five flutes. Everything from the food and drinks to the decor and service at Adoro Lei is exceptional. Plus, the party room downstairs and the DJ upstairs make for a fun, unique brunch experience.
Adoro Lei serves brunch on Saturdays from 12-4 p.m.