When you move to a new city, you make friends in all sorts of ways: friends of friends, old high school and college acquaintances, former colleagues … hell, anyone you might possibly know within a 50 mile radius. It’s happy-hour friend-dates forever!
This has been my life for the last five months in New York. And I’m by no means knocking it—the friend-dating has allowed me to get to know some truly incredible folks in this city. It’s also allowed me to systematically cross off nearly every wine bar I’ve had on my NYC bucket list.
But sometimes, the dates are pre-qualified, meaning I know the people will immediately be amazing, and so a longer date is in order, i.e. brunch. This was the case when an amazing former colleague of mine, Angela, wanted to meet up—after a staggering seven years of not seeing one another.
We agreed on brunch in Hell’s Kitchen, as I wanted to spend the rest of the day at the Armory Show on the Piers. I invited a new girlfriend, and Angela invited a girlfriend (the lovely and well-traveled Miss Sarah Funky), and thus we had the perfect amalgamation of friend-dates over a very girly brunch.
I was late, as per usual, and so the girls had all gathered and introduced themselves prior to my arrial. In true diner style, brunch is served at Eatery seven days a week. And also in true diner style, the place is epically packed—tiny spaces between tables, lines out the door, etc.
We settled down at a four-top and got to know one another: one lovely lady was hopping on a plane to Iceland that afternoon, another was fresh of a fashion tour with her denim brand, one was heading to a Saturday afternoon of work (le sigh), and I, of course, was bound for epic inhalation of contemporary art.
Eatery is filled with light, which is lovely when you’re not hungover on a Saturday morning. The huge windows on the right side of the Manhattan mean that the restaurant’s flowers are blooming. And while the dining room is semi-chaotic, the bar is so hidden and interesting—covered in white fronds and Christmas lights.
The first thing that arrived on our table was a plate of warm, tiny muffins sprinkled with powdered sugar. Our drinks hadn’t even arrived yet, so these tiny baked goods were a delightful surprise. When our drinks arrived—an ice-cold Bloody Mary and bellinis in big wine glasses—we were satisfied.
Eatery also offers a Caesar, Bayou, or “hell” Mary (read: it is sake, people), but we were fine with the classics. Now, if you’re really on a bender, the diner serves up a full cocktail menu, with margaritas, mojitos, and martinis, too.
After much ridiculous conversation and debate over the rather enormous menu, the entrees arrived. Classic diner, Eatery’s dishes were heavy on the eggs and carbs. And unclassic diner, some dishes were hot and some were cold, much to our dismay.
The green eggs and ham (how cute is that?) was served with a croissant with egg whites, goat cheese, honey roasted ham, and basil pesto with a mixed salad on the side. The pulled pork tostada was made with fried eggs, Monterey jack cheese, and Poblano relish. The “e-Benne” was a poached egg on a vegetable potato cake with roasted chili hollandaise and honey roasted ham.
We all ate our entrees, but confessed we were more excited about the company, the drinks, the lovely appetizer muffins, and the prospect of dessert.
For dessert, we ordered the stuffed French toast, which had a ridiculous banana cream cheese filling and was covered in Vermont Maple syrup, with a few scoops of vanilla ice cream. It was very rich, but we were thankful we didn’t go for the other option: a corn-flake crusted French toast with orange marmalade and fresh berries.
The conversation and brunch had to wrap up—alas, our new friend was due to board a trans-Atlantic flight! And so we packed up our things and squeezed out from our window-side table, bound to reconvene for yet another friend-date.
The Bitches say: C+. A classic Hell’s Kitchen diner, with an interesting menu, but average execution.
798 9th Ave.
New York, NY
Eatery serves brunch on weekdays from 11 to 3 and Saturdays and Sundays from 9 to 4.