“Hey girl, are you lost?” Some leering catcalling was the first thing that greeted my friend Jen and I as we exited the Franklin Avenue subway stop in Bed-Stuy on a sunny Saturday afternoon.
We actually were a little lost. It was both of our first times in the neighborhood. When I was recently invited in to try Alice’s Arbor, we both jumped at the chance to explore the rapidly expanding Clinton Hill area close by to make us more well rounded New Yorkers. Far too often do I catch myself brunching in the familiar streets of downtown Manhattan so I’ve made a conscious effort to get out of my comfort zone (see our recent reviews at Station LIC in Long Island City and Dover in Carroll Gardens). Plus as a Biggie fan I was nerdily a little excited to walk through the neighborhood he reps so hard.
Jen and I were admittedly a little disheartened by the dingy walk from the subway stop to the restaurant, we immediately were cheered by Alice’s Arbor adorable ambiance. The restaurant houses a ton of funky art, plays oldie jams, and has a convenient takeaway counter with pastries and drinks from Kitten Coffee.
The restaurant was filled with neighborhood regulars, mainly young hipster families and couples. We were seated immediately by a friendly server and given time to peruse the menu, which featured locally sourced, seasonable fare via partnerships with nearby farms.
Our first order of business was drinks, but we kept it non-alcoholic. I had an almond milk latte to get my day started and was pleasantly surprised to see some familiar juice on the menu fresh sourced from Jugo Esperanto (read our review of Esperanto in the East Village here).
I tried the Detox juice containing jicama, pineapple, apple, lemon, and ginger, which was quite refreshing. I love the recent trend of cold-pressed juice offerings at brunch; it started the meal on a healthy note.
Alice’s Arbor has a brunch deal of any plate, salad, or sandwich with a Bloody or mimosa and the choice of coffee, tea, or OJ for $17.99. Since this meal was on the house we didn’t partake in the deal, but it’s a nice offering for diners.
Speaking of healthy, we both wanted to get our greens in so we started with a kale salad to start. The salad mixes the super food with almonds, apples, pecorino, pomegranate, and avocado, and we also went a little rogue and added a poached egg on top. The salad was a well-balanced mix of savory and sweet and I highly recommend the protein addition. The creamy yolk enhanced the salad and it was quite filling.
We also split the cowboy fries to nibble on as we caught up on gossip. These are basically French fries with a dusting of spices paired with a zesty aioli. There’s rarely a French fry that I don’t like and we enjoyed the eatery’s inventive take on the classic.
Jen was craving a sandwich and was torn between the Jessie, which is Alice’s Arbor most popular breakfast sandwich, and Alice’s Sister, a lunchtime option. Our server recommended the Jessie, which contains cheddar, tomato, avocado, egg, and lettuce on a croissant, but Jen ended up picking Alice’s Sister since we already had eggs on our starter salad.
She thoroughly enjoyed her turkey sammie with gruyere, tomato, lettuce, and cranberry aioli. She reported that the aioli really made the sandwich and kept it from getting too dry. She also noted that the bread was perfected crunchy and toasted.
I’ve been on a breakfast seafood kick so the crab hash was a no-brainer, especially after our server said it was a must-try. Crab meat was combined with potatoes to create a fishy hashbrown and it was topped with a poached egg and lemon Hollandaise. I asked for the Hollandaise on the side and followed our server’s pro tip of requesting special spicy Hollandaise. Our server hadn’t steered us wrong and I loved the zippy accouterment. This dish was unique and filling, without overwhelming my palate.
We both grabbed iced coffees with almond milk to-go for our trip back to Manhattan and to aid our digestion after this multi-course brunch. We were both glad that we went out on a limb to try a meal in a locale that was off the beaten path for the two of us. Always go out on a limb, that’s where the (cold-pressed, locally sourced) fruit is!
The Bitches say A-. Fresh, farm-to-table food with tons of healthy and more decadent menu options. Definitely worth a meal if you’re in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn.
549 Classon Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11238
Alice’s Arbor serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.