Another joyous holiday season has come to a close, and I returned to New York from a week at home with a heavy heart and a heavy suitcase. Faced with the unenjoyable task of unpacking and dismantling the Christmas tree, I escaped to the comforts of a late brunch at Back Forty instead.
Decorated with rustic farm tools, frosted seasonal windows, and eclectic paintings, the vibe in Back Forty is homey and comfortable. The warm, inviting atmosphere numbed my winter doldrums the minute I stepped inside.
Our first order was cocktails from the seasonal menu. The Back Forty, made with George Dickle #12, maple, and lemon, was a huge surprise, as I usually shy away from all things whiskey. This drink was pleasant and light and brought me back to a recent vacation to Barbados.
Living in a city full of impressive cocktail establishments that often fade together into one big hangover, I can genuinely say that the restaurant’s namesake cocktail will always stick out in my memory. A tequila enthusiast, I also ordered their version of a margarita, which was great but had too many chunks of lime, which wasn’t so great.
We also ordered two lattes, which were served in beautiful pottery mugs made by one of the owners. I liked the look of my latte in that mug so much that there are now two such mugs lovingly nestled in my kitchen cupboard at home.
The menu initially struck me as limited, but as an indecisive foodie, I quickly appreciated its simplicity. My boyfriend has dubbed himself the “unhealthy bruncher” in my Bitching and brunching adventures, taking on the burden of the decadent entrees I feel too guilty to order. He immediately rose to the challenge and ordered buttermilk fried chicken and waffles with a side of buttered biscuits.
I have to admit, I experienced some serious FOMO (Fear of Missing Out = add it to your dictionary) when his massive, fluffy waffles topped with fried chicken drumsticks arrived at the table. I would have never thought to douse maple syrup on fried chicken, but I think it’s going to become a habit of mine going forward because it was totally delicious. The only thing I didn’t enjoy about my boyfriend’s meal was the work it took to debone the chicken before eating it. It was not a pretty sight, and he’s fortunate that we are way past the point of making impressions on dates.
I opted for a lighter load, and ordered the maple baked granola with house made yogurt, almonds, and fresh apple slices. The dish was delightful and secretly just as decadent and satisfying as the chicken and waffles. Don’t be deterred by the smaller-looking portion; I had trouble finishing my bowl! As far as granola goes, it was just a tad more spectacular than others I’ve ordered, but nothing overly memorable.
I could have done without the biscuit on the side. It was dry, which may have been a result of us eating brunch late in the day, so I had to lather each bite with jam, which no biscuit should require. The side of a few strips of housemade bacon, on the other hand, was the most amazing thing we ate. A perfect combination of fat and crispy, it was a welcome buttery taste that would have complemented any brunch item and inspired me to look up homemade bacon recipes for my next brunch at home.
The Bitches say A-. A solid farm-to-table option in the East Village that offers organic local fare and stand out cocktails.
190 Avenue B #1
New York, NY 10009
Back Forty is open for brunch on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.