Recently, Ally and I concluded fashion week with a work day brunch at Bustan in the Upper West Side. We jumped at the opportunity to take a lunch-brunch during the day, as our weekend was too jam packed with fashion happenings to squeeze in a sit-down Benny. Meditteranean brunch on a warm summer day seemed like a great excuse to travel uptown and we were excited to give this new spot a try.
We were ushered into the back patio upon arrival, a delightful and spacious area decorated with greenery, butterflies and colorful umbrellas. We both felt like we’d stepped out of the city and into our own private garden, and decided to endure the heat to continue basking in the zen of quiet outdoor space.
I immediately ordered a latte despite already being full of espresso, because a brunch isn’t truly brunch to me without one. The menu seemed expansive and we had difficulty deciding where to begin.
Bustan made our decision a little easier by serving the mazettim for the table, which was an impressive display of hummus, tzatziki, spicy feta, smoked eggplant, green tahini, moroccan turnip and marinated olives. I would have been happy just eating that for my meal with the fresh-baked bread; it was all delicious.
After all those dips, I was quite full but we forced ourselves to make room for the egg sandwich, which was a green omelette served with tzatziki, tomato, avocado and za’atar. I wasn’t very impressed with this dish; it wasn’t bad, but the sauces and thick pita bread lost the egg and I was fine with one or two bites.
The next dish we sampled was the Bustan Benedict with toasted challah bread, roasted tomato, avocado and mint yogurt. A lover of all of these flavors individually, I expected big things from the combination. The Benedict sauce was lost with the mint yogurt, and the bread once again overpowered the bite. I pictured the challah to be light and airy, but it was too dense for the poached egg.
We finished our meal with the green shakshoukah, which consisted of poached eggs, creamed spinach, artichokes, fior de latte, and truffle oil. We thought this was the strongest of the three and the sauce was delicious sopped up in the extra house made bread. At this point, we were overwhelmingly full.
Despite these brunch speed bumps, I’ll close out the review on a positive note. I appreciated the attentive service and that the manager, waitstaff and owners all seemed to genuinely like each other. It felt familial and I liked being a part of that homey experience.
The Bitches say: B-. The atmosphere, service, and starter were a hit, but the core of the brunch was a miss. I wouldn’t recommend the UWS trip to my downtown friends looking for brunch, but if you’re in the area and want to curb your Mediterranean fix, give this a go.
487 Amsterdam Avenue
(Upper West Side)
(212) 595 – 5050
Bustan serves brunch Friday-Sunday, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.