Few things are better than a great mac & cheese. I had the chance to sample Atwood Kitchen’s award-winning cheesy mac at Time Out New York’s Mac Daddy event so I was thrilled when its executive chef invited me in to try the full brunch menu at the restaurant’s Midtown East location.
I work in Midtown and tend to avoid the corporate, chain-restaurant locale on the weekends, but I made an exception for Atwood Kitchen. My friend Alex joined me after hearing my rave reviews of the mac and cheese from the weekend prior.
We were both impressed by the more upscale ambiance of the restaurant as we both expected more of a sports bar vibe. The establishment featured exposed bricks, dark booths, and industrial chandeliers. There were plenty of flat screen TVs so that you could catch a game, but also many small children brunching with their parents so it had a family-friendly vibe.
We advised our friendly server that we wanted to sample the best of the best on the menu so he selected an assortment of items for us. It’s not a good weekend without a solid carb binge so we were pleased when the first thing that was set on the table was a generous serving of scones.
It seems simple, but the scones and jam were one of our favorite parts of our meal. The vanilla scones were light and flaky, but the star of the show was the lemon ginger butter, which was unique and zesty.
Also riding the carb train, next up was the ciabatta toast with cracked pepper, mascarpone, and fig. Figs are one of my favorite fruits and it’s pretty hard to screw up cheesy toast. This toast was decadent and hit the spot after a long Friday night out. My only suggestion was to add some more of the fig jam.
At this point in the meal we were both starting to fill up on bread and we still had three more entrees in route. We nibbled on the applewood smoked bacon Benedict, per our server’s suggestion. I appreciated the spin on the classic eggs Benny, this version was served on a cheddar jalapeno scone. However, nothing else about this dish was particularly memorable.
Next up was the farm egg and waffle sandwich with a very impressive presentation. Fried eggs and bacon were sandwiched between crispy waffles–this dish was definitely a splurge and not for the faint of heart. I enjoyed the mix of salty and sweet, but it was so rich that it was challenging to muster more than a few bites. A highlight of this dish was the hot honey served like a syrup.
Finally, we rounded out our feast with the skirt steak and eggs. This hearty entree was served alongside stone ground grits, charred poblano, and sweet corn. The steak was a bit dry, but we doused it with the grits and sauce to result in a juicier bite.
We were disappointed that mac and cheese never arrived to our table; we figured that the staff would want to highlight this award-winning dish. Although the kitchen sent out a variety of entrees, everything was very bread-centric and we would have liked to sample more a diverse array of menu items.
The Bitches say: C+. Elevated bar food in a rustic-chic ambiance, but nothing to go out of your way for.
986 2nd Ave.
New York, NY
Atwood Kitchen & Bar Room serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays.