If you’re asking around for places to brunch in Brooklyn, a) you’ve come to the right website and b) someone has probably recommended Cafe Mogador. It’s a Williamsburg staple, a.k.a. the perfect spot for my first review.
Cafe Mogador sits two blocks off the water on Wythe Avenue, just a short walk from many of the neighborhoods best bars and hotels, and Brooklyn Flea. If your brunch (like mine) is the beginning of a day drinking marathon, you might note that Brooklyn Brewery is just three blocks northeast. All in all, an excellent location to begin an afternoon toting around Williamsburg.
At the Williamsburg location (the original outpost has been in the East Village since 1983), they don’t take reservations for brunch, so I recommend arriving early to avoid a wait. I went with three friends a little after 10 a.m. and by the time we left there was a line out the door. It’s also worth noting that this spot is definitely family friendly; we saw multiple groups (large and small) with children and the restaurant was very accommodating.
The décor is rustic and nearly kitschy, with lots of tchotchkes. I wouldn’t be surprised if the plates hanging on the walls all came from an antique store. The bar is beautiful, but not overpowering in the space, and there’s an outdoor space that would be perfect to dine in during the summer months.
In the spirit of brunch, I began with a blood orange mimosa. All the orange juice served is freshly squeezed and the mimosa was no exception. If not terribly imaginative (the drinks menu was a bit limited if you wanted alcohol), it was still delicious. The rest of the table stuck to coffee. Since Mogador is Moroccan-inspired, two friends opted to try the Turkish coffee. If you haven’t had one before and don’t know what to expect it’s gritty, herbal, and quite bitter, served in an individual pot with an espresso sized cup. If that isn’t up your alley, skip it. It was more of a novelty than enjoyable, at least for our party.
At the recommendation of our waitress, I had the halloumi eggs, which come poached and served with roasted tomato, greens, and a zaatar pita. The dish was great because it didn’t feel like an unmanageable amount of food, a complaint I have about many brunches. The halloumi was soft and salty and the pita was spiced to perfection. However, the greens came a bit underdressed for my liking (better than overdressed) and the eggs didn’t quite have that boomerang-worthy ooze. Didn’t stop me from cleaning my plate though!
Cafe Mogador also has a great selection of Benedicts (my favorite!). One friend ordered the Blackstone eggs, a more traditional Benny served with bacon and roasted tomato. It was good, but not the best we’ve ever had. Another went for the Moroccan Benedict, served with a spicy stewed tomato sauce. This had me excited as it sounded like a combination of shakshuka and eggs Benedict–a match made in heaven. While it was delicious, I admit I was expecting a bit more kick from this dish than was present–even as a non-spice-lover.
Though everything was good, the only dish I would go back for was the Middle Eastern eggs. This platter comes with eggs, hummus, tabouli, arabic salad, and zaatar pita. Everything you tasted was better than the last: the tabouli was fresh, bright, and lemony (as it should be), the hummus was beyond smooth, and when everything started to mingle in the center of the plate, the pita was perfect for cleaning up in one delicious fell swoop. If everyone at the table ordered this dish, it wouldn’t be a waste.
THE BITCHES SAY: THREE CHAMPAGNE FLUTES
It’s clear why Cafe Mogador is a staple in the neighborhood: easy, reliable, and (despite the wait) no one will rush you out. That said, if you’re looking for something a bit more exciting and imaginative, I would keep searching.
Cafe Mogador serves brunch Saturday, Sunday, and holidays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.