I recently made the move from Alphabet City to SoHo and unsurprisingly, have had a blast exploring the pockets of treasures in my new neighborhood. Fight past the throngs of tourists on Broadway and you’ll be treated to a killer espresso at Surf Saturdays, insane vodka infusions at Pravda, and my new favorite spinning studio, Monster Cycle, which I recently discovered on Classpass.
The one downside about living in SoHo is that it feeds the fire of one of my largest vices –shopping. I literally keep my eyes to the ground during my evening commute so I’m not derailed by a sale sign at Topshop.
But a girl’s got to indulge sometimes right? My friend Alex planned a delightful afternoon agenda featuring a few of my favorite things: brunch, shopping, and great conversation. He suggested brunch at Café Select, which is one of his brunch mainstays and conveniently around the corner from my apartment. Sold.
Café Select is located on Lafayette Street in a great pocket of SoHo, neighboring Jack’s Wife Freda, La Esquina, and Mexican Radio. Like most places in the area, the ambiance is quaint and charming. I admired the cherry red tables on the front sidewalk and the rustic letting and overhangs outside of the establishment. Once indoors, I was charmed by the intimate tables, quirky European art, and delicious smells wafting in from the kitchen.
For being a popular neighborhood eatery, I was pleasantly surprised that Café Select takes reservations. I arrived a little bit early and Alex was running a little late so I saddled up to the bar to survey the menu over a mimosa. The mimosa had a nice balance of fresh squeezed juice and bubbles, so no complaints there.
Café Select features Swiss fare, which I admittedly didn’t know much about outside of fondue and chocolate. The brunch menu consists of many familiar American dishes such as French toast, burgers, and steak and eggs with a Swiss twist. Some items were completely unfamiliar to me like rosti, the equivalent of Swiss hash browns, and eggs Norwegian, which is basically a Benny with smoked salmon.
Alex arrived and our jovial bearded and bespectacled server seated us in minutes. Coffee and cocktails were our first priorities and we selected a latte and an Aperol Spritz. The coffee was strong and the Spritz was refreshing so we were off to a solid start.
My dining companion raved about pretty much everything on the menu so we diplomatically narrowed it down to three mains to split. Along with pretty much every other basic Bitch in this city, I’ve been on a bit of an avocado toast kick so that was my number one pick from the specials, which were handwritten on an adorable personal chalkboard.
The avocado toast was hearty and fresh. Cafe Select layers fresh tomato slices under the avocado, which elevated the dish and added a great crunch.
We were both in a agreement that rosti was a must-try, so we went with the classic eggs over rosti topped with fried eggs and pancetta. I really have nothing to compare this dish to, but we could both vouch that it was delicious. The rosti was an enormous hash brown, the ideal vessel to sop up the egg yolk and thinly sliced meat for a perfectly balanced bite. As an added bonus, it was an easy dish to share.
While my vice is shopping, Alex’s just may be mozzarella sticks, so I wasn’t surprised when he selected the fried halloumi entrée to share. We received a platter of oven roasted tomatoes, sautéed spinach, tomato relish, field greens, poached eggs, and of course a generous slab of fried cheese. This dish packed a nutritious punch of fresh veggies and light eggs, making it seem relatively healthy despite the decadent dairy. Again, another winner from Café Select.
We leisurely cleaned our plates and settled the bill. We were properly fueled for an afternoon of bopping around the streets of SoHo in search of new sporty drifits and snapbacks.
The Bitches say A. An unpretentious SoHo café with a chic European feel. Don’t be afraid of unfamiliar ingredients; we recommend trying the Swiss dishes for the full experience.
212 Lafayette St.
New York, NY
Cafe Select serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.