Chelsea is definitely gaining popularity in the brunch realm. We’ve seen buzzy spots popping up all over the neighborhood lately. While recently strolling the streets doing some restaurant research, we stumbled across Co. on an inconspicuous corner with an overflowing crowd inside.
Co. stands for Company, which alludes to a Latin remark meaning “with bread.” After doing a bit more digging, we discovered that the restaurant was opened by Chef Jim Lahey, the same mastermind between Sullivan Street Bakery. So it was only fitting my gluten-fixated friend, Chelsea, accompany me to this bread-centric brunch in her namesake neighborhood.
We started off with cocktails, of course. This was our first time meeting up since the new year, so there was a fair share of dirt to dish about on both sides of the table. I ordered the Venetian spritz, a pretty classic combination of Cappelletti, prosecco rosé, rosemary, and blood orange, which was tasty but a bit smokey for my liking. Chelsea ordered the Byrrh royale, a twist on her typical order, made of grand quinquina, prosecco, and lemon.
The cocktails did their job, but the real star of our get together was the food. We started off with a salad and one of their artisanal pies. First up was the fennel and citrus salad, which I’d secretly been eyeing since looking at the menu the night before online. The bitter mix of blood orange, grapefruit, lemon, and cabbage wouldn’t suit all taste buds, I will admit. But if that’s your sort of thing, you’re in for a treat.
We then ordered an off-the-menu pizza, the Popeye, as recommended by our waiter. This was one of the best pizzas I’ve had in New York (although none will come close to my favorite, Gemma). Neither of us is a big fansof sloppy marinara sauce, so the olive oil and garlic base was sheer delight. Parmesan, mozzarella, and gruyere sat below a heaping dome of sautéed spinach. We chuckled that this was probably a pizza lover’s version of a salad.
Every time I brunch with a girlfriend, it’s inevitable that we end up splitting our orders. I guess you could say foodies attract. I’m a savory bruncher, and Chelsea’s sweet. So there we had it, one order of avocado toast and one of French toast.
The Sullivan Street Bakery breads shined in both of these dishes. Although the avocado toast wasn’t as beautiful as the restaurant’s neighbor, Citizens of Chelsea, it was delicious. Garnished with shaved parmesan and basil, the version brought a nice twist to this NYC brunch staple.
We found the French toast both uncomplicated and homey, just as a French toast should be. The Sullivan Street Bakery brioche was light, sweet, and fluffy enough to absorb just enough syrup for moisture without becoming soggy. A simple strawberry garnish completed the yummy dish.
To our surprise, our server rounded out our meal by dropping Co.’s signature Banoffee by our booth. We were so full and had leftovers packed up, but if you’re with this Bitch, you know my motto is “no dessert left behind.” Airy coffee cream and hazelnuts sat dolloped atop a crunchy graham cracker crust, bananas, and dulce de leche. The table next to us immediately ordered one when they saw our eyes light up at initial spoonful.
The whole room was full of warm and lively energy, which is a touch I often miss when dining in Manhattan. Families and friends laughed at the large communal tables as they hugged and passed pizza pies between their guests of all ages. We praised Co. for both their food and welcoming vibe.
The Bitches say: A. Co. is an elevated pizza lover’s paradise. Supremely portioned pies seasoned to perfection circle around community-style tables at this friendly neighborhood joint in Chelsea.
Co. serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 12 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.