Every time I spend an afternoon in the Upper West Side, I always ask myself why I don’t spend more time in this charming neighborhood. The quiet streets, bountiful restaurants, and close proximity to Central Park are total selling points. Plus there are those sinfully delicious double chocolate chip cookies at Levain.
But then after numerous subway transfers from my East Village apartment, the stiflingly long commute to Amsterdam Avenue reminds me why I don’t visit as often as I’d like. Every so often, my boyfriend Andrew and I put aside our laziness and trek up to the neighborhood to visit one of our favorite couples, Myles and Ravelle.
Coincidentally, this was Myles and Ravelle’s last weekend as UWS residents before their move to the ‘burbs so we dined at a highly acclaimed local brunch spot, Jacob’s Pickles, to commemorate the occasion.
Jacob’s Pickles has a requisite two+ hour-long wait but we bypassed the line by making a reservation. Savvy Bitch tip: Jacob’s Pickles only allows brunch reservations for parties of six diners or more. Jaime and Daniel joined us for the meal, bringing our numbers up to reservation-worthy.
We were seated immediately in the back of the expansive eatery. Jacob’s Pickles has a lofty, high ceiling, cozy wood accents, and a sweeping bar filled with jars of house made pickles and bottles of Tito’s vodka.
Our entire group came to brunch with an appetite so we started with a few small plates. To wake up our palates, we split an assortment of the famous pickled vegetables. Diners can mix and match sampling platters with one, four, or eight types of veggies; we selected the big dill kosher cukes, the hot sour cukes, candy red beets, and thyme jalapenos. My favorite was the contrasting taste of the hot sour cukes, but all of the veggies were perfectly crisp with outstanding, bold flavors.
Ravelle has great taste and raved about the fried green tomatoes, so we happily obliged her with an order. She was spot on–this starter was a standout. Thick slices of tomato were coated with grits and when topped with generous smear of house picnic sauce, was the perfect bite.
Us gals somehow had the willpower to forgo the variety of tantalizing Southern biscuit sandwiches and all ordered omelettes from the coop menu. The omelettes were stuffed with locally sourced eggs and heaping portions of veggies, cheese, and other tasty accoutrements. We all substituted an infamous Jacob’s biscuit for the home fries, although some home fries still made it on my plate. The biscuits were warm and fluffy, and complemented by fresh jams, butter, and honey. The omelettes were fresh, filling, and contained the perfect amount of brunch decadence with the addition of the biscuits.
Andrew yolo-ed it and went whole hog, or bird in this case, with the chicken and pancakes per our server’s recommendation. We immediately stopped our conversation and stared when this dish was placed before him. A stack of massive pancakes was topped with buttermilk-fried chicken with crispy bacon on the side. I may still be dreaming about this dish. The pancakes practically melted in our mouths and paired perfectly with the juicy fried chicken. We all gave Andrew a hand to conquer this colossal creation, but he had no trouble cleaning the plate.
Daniel went a similarly decadent route and ordered the biscuits and gravy. Diners are given the choice between sausage and mushroom gravy to drown Jacob’s famous biscuit. He selected the mushroom gravy and thoroughly enjoyed his meal. It tasted much better than it looked. At first, we questioned that this dish was served without a side, but the biscuits and gravy were extremely filling on their own.
The coop platter is an excellent choice if you’re feeling indecisive like Myles. The expansive entrée contains three eggs, bacon, sausage, grits, a biscuit, and home fries. It was the ideal mix of traditional breakfast fixings and Myles satisfactorily exclaimed that he had a taste of some of Jacob’s best offerings.
As if we hadn’t already eaten enough, no one declined Jaime’s suggestion for the banana pudding. I actually had never tried banana pudding before moving to New York. I’m typically not a fan of banana flavoring, but melted after I tried Magnolia Bakery’s infamous version. This may be blasphemous to some, but I thought Jacob’s banana pudding was right on par with Magnolia. The pudding was airy and creamy with soft wafer cookies contributing to the pleasing texture. The dessert was easy to share and ended our feast on a sweet note.
Buzzing with the happiness that a fantastic meal brings, we waddled out the door and headed for a stroll in the park. We walked off a portion of our meal and debriefed on our experience. Across the board, no one had a single complaint about our brunch at Jacob’s Pickles, a rare occurrence among a group of picky Bitches and bros.
The Bitches say: A. The long wait is well deserved at this Upper West Side mainstay. Every Southern-style dish was delicious and well executed; don’t miss the pickles, biscuits, and pancakes.
509 Amsterdam Ave.
New York, NY
(Upper West Side)
Jacob’s Pickles serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays beginning at 9 a.m.