This review is long overdue. It’s pretty shocking that we haven’t reviewed Jack’s Wife Freda, a staple in the New York brunch scene, and I really have no excuse because I live two blocks away.
Actually, I do have an excuse—the epic wait time. Most weekends, I’m either recovering from a long night out or a long morning run, both of which leave me ravenously hangry and I rarely justify waiting more than an hour to be seated at brunch.
Insider pro tip: Jack’s Wife Freda serves their breakfast/brunch menu seven days a week so you can beat the line by arriving promptly at opening time (8:30 a.m.) for a weekday brunch.
I had a morning flight to catch to Park City so I met my friend Robert for a quick breakfast before hopping in a cab to JFK. Robert is the managing partner of Seamore’s and like me, is a regular in our neighborhood establishments, but had surprisingly never sampled Jack’s Wife Freda’s breakfast menu. The menu is an interesting mix of Mediterranean cuisine sprinkled with some more familiar American stand-bys.
We started with coffees, black for Robert and a latte for me. I was disappointed that they only had whole milk, but we enjoyed both of the drinks, which sourced from Stumptown. The regular coffee is bottomless, which Robert took full advantage of in order to get ready for a busy day running Seamore’s.
We both wanted to eat relatively healthy and were intrigued by the Mediterranean-leaning menu items. We couldn’t decide between the green shakshuka, the Mediterranean breakfast, and the poached eggs with grilled tomatoes and haloumi, so naturally we just ordered all three.
Our dishes were brought to our table pretty quickly, which I appreciated since I was in a bit of a rush to head to the airport.
I dug into the Mediterranean breakfast which contains two eggs any style (we chose over easy), Israeli salad, labne, avocado, and pita bread. The salad was light and well-seasoned with fresh herbs, the avocado added the perfect amount of creaminess to our bites, and the pita was fluffy and slightly addictive. We both remarked that all of the eggs during our meal were cooked perfectly.
Next we tried the poached eggs, which were stacked atop the roasted tomatoes and haloumi cheese, reminiscent of an eggs Benedict presentation without the bread and hollandaise. This was easy to share and another tasty yet light selection. The haloumi cheese was my favorite part of the dish; it was firm enough to serve as a base for the runny eggs, but still decadently creamy.
Finally we moved on to the green shakshuka. I was surprised that this was Robert’s first shakshuka, but he gave it rave reviews. The eggs were baked into the green sauce, which was super garlicky in the best way, and we enjoyed dipping the side of toasted bread into the remaining sauce. I wished the dish contained some roasted veggies, like other shakshukas I’ve sampled in the past, but this entrée was a winner nonetheless.
We successfully polished off three main breakfast dishes for two people; impressive or gluttonous? Regardless, we were both extremely satisfied by our menu choices and left the quaint café extremely caffeinated with full bellies. I was happy I could skip out on gross airport food as this feast tided me over to my landing across the country in Salt Lake City.
The Bitches say: Five Champagne flutes. Go for the flavorful ethnic menu offerings in this popular neighborhood joint. We recommend going during the week right as it opens to avoid an epic wait time.
Jack’s Wife Freda serves brunch every day beginning at 8:30 a.m.