Now that I’m a few years out of college, my close friends are scattered across the country working hard, and brunching even harder. Whenever my sorority sister and past roommate Liz travels out east to the Big Apple from her home in sunny LA, we make an effort to indulge in some much-needed catch up over a long brunch together.
This summer, we had the leisure of a gorgeous, Bitch-approved rooftop brunch at Gallow Green, but during this whirlwind NYC visit, she could only pencil me in for a quick bite at her hotel. I’ll take whatever time I can get with my bi-coastal bestie and happily obliged; it didn’t hurt that she was staying in the trendy Viceroy Hotel in Midtown West.
Kingside is relatively new to the restaurant scene, as it is celebrating its one year anniversary next week, but led by industry veterans Scott Gerber of the Gerber Group and Chef Marc Murphy of Landmarc and Ditch Plains (brunch review here). The ambiance is reminiscent of a comfortable neighborhood diner with a chic, modern twist. I loved the inviting, open-air kitchen and warm retro tiling; it’s the kind of restaurant that allows you to settle in and “stay awhile.”
Liz was waiting for me in a spacious corner booth and already halfway through her iced coffee, but to be fair, she was staying a few stories above the eatery. Big hugs were shared all around and we immediately dove right into the latest and greatest going on in both of our lives, picking up right where we left off.
I started with a soy latte once I was informed by our attentive server that Kingside does not offer almond milk. I mistakenly assumed that every trendy Manhattan eatery now carries almond milk, but my initial disappointment was slightly acquiesced once I saw the small branded chocolate served alongside my beverage. Adorable!
Kingside’s breakfast and brunch menu is pretty expansive for a hotel restaurant and we had our pick between New American classics such as steak and eggs, a variety of benedicts, cast iron frittata, and lemon ricotta pancakes. Of course in true Midtown fashion, that artisanal granola with yogurt will cost you $12.
Liz and I were so engrossed in our conversation that we barely had a chance to review the menu, although our patient server gave us plenty of opportunities as she checked in on us. I made a split second decision and ordered the peppers and eggs entree. I’m a spicy food lover and the description of blistered long hats and charred scallion jumped out from the page. Unfortunately, the taste didn’t live up to my flavorful expectations. The eggs were pretty bland and the peppers were muted. I had to add salt and pepper to the plate, and I never add extra salt. I also didn’t realize this item was a breakfast sandwich until it arrived on a giant, buttery ciabatta roll, which was probably the best part of my main course. Carbs rarely disappoint.
Liz negated the need to eat nasty airplane food and fueled up for her long travels home with steel cut oatmeal and fresh fruit. I gave her some grief about ordering such a boring entree for my brunch review (hello, #EatingForTheInsta!!), but as any good friend would, she didn’t listen to a word I said and proceeded with her porridge. As I predicted, her oatmeal wasn’t particularly exciting, although the fruit bowl was bountiful. She also ordered a side of chicken sausage and reported that it was great.
We settled our rather hefty check, again not atypical from your standard nice hotel, and continued our girl talk over blowouts at Dry Bar in the neighboring Le Parker Meridien before Liz embarked on a flurry of meetings and the lengthy flight home. Our brunch experience was decent, but luckily the conversation and company far exceeded the average flavors of our brunch fare.
The Bitches say: C-. The chic decor and great service is on par with Viceroy standards and the food is fine if you’re staying in a nearby hotel. However with so many fantastic dining options in NYC, I wouldn’t go out of my way to brunch at Kingside with locals.
Kingside at the Viceroy Hotel
124 W. 57th St.
New York, NY
Kingside serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. and breakfast from 7 a.m. until 11 a.m.