The Haven Rooftop, at the top of the well-named Sanctuary Hotel, provides a refuge from its neighborhood, tourist-heavy midtown. Don’t let the swank hotel lobby or the velvet rope in the elevator bank put you off; a friendly (and fresh-aired) brunch awaits.
Haven is a cross between a nightclub and a garden terrace. The dining area lines the west-facing border, and features seating that is more comfortable and less condensed than your average New York restaurant. The exclusive vibe and thumping music makes it feel a bit like a nightclub, but the friendliness of the staff balance that out.
The views include towers and billboards adjacent to Times Square, but the ambiance isn’t spoiled by the noise. The best highlight of the setting is the copper spire and gargoyles of St. Mary the Virgin’s church right next door; brunch here offers a view of the blended history of the city, from a height seldom seen.
The menu plays it fairly safe, featuring standards with a few twists, created by Chef Madison Belem. There’s a prix fixe option for $29, with bottomless mimosas, sangria, or Bloody Marys for $20 more.
The eggs Benedict may not be anything to write home about, but it’s a strong enough offering not to complain about either. Its sister, the crab Benedict, is a nice alternative for Benedict fans too. Not too crabby, and with the bonus of including the Canadian bacon, it’s pretty light and confident for what it is.
The brunch pizza was easily a group favorite, follows the popular trend of adding eggs to one of America’s favorite foods. The tuna tartare is fresh and easily shareable. The crab and avocado palette was a nice companion to the tartare, and perfect for a late summer Sunday.
There were a few fun surprises, like the Times Square omelet, with bacon, onion and mozzarella; it was simple and good, a fun homage to the nearby landmark.
The Haven Chicken surprised us; thin strips of sliced chicken in a light cream sauce were a fresh take on something so simple, and also made for a great dish to share.
We all enjoyed the $20 bottomless cocktails, which is a nice price in a city with many aggressively priced booze menus. We primarily went for “man-mosas” (mimosas on the rocks), while one of us opted for the light sangria made with dry rosé.
Dessert followed suit; standard and solid. Certainly there is better tiramisu in the city (and certainly worse). The crème brûlee delivered sufficient crunch, and wasn’t overly sweet.
The staff was a delight, considering the elitist vibe plaguing many rooftop staff teams (not to mention clientele) in urban centers. They were flexible with our group, responsive to our orders and changes, and most importantly, made the “less” in “bottomless” a real thing.
The Bitches (and Bros) say: B. Although the location isn’t ideal, it’s a good solution if you’re in the heart of Midtown. Go for the view, enjoy the pizza, and drink man-mosas to your heart’s content.