Mario Batali has done it again. Except this time, there’s a brunch. And this brunch knocks the socks off of any other brunch I’ve had in 2016.
After stalking the many La Sirena Instagram posts of their daily breakfast and waiting over a month for them to iron out any opening kinks, I could not have been more excited to break my wedding diet with an incredibly gluttonous brunch following our honeymoon.
The restaurant was designed to be photographed. Picture this: Gorgeous tiling greets your brunch boots outside on the patio and leads you on a “white-and-black mosaic road” past the floor-to-ceiling glass which separates the expansive dining rooms. A literal team of front staff greet you as you enter, as if they’ve been waiting for you. (Disappointment is masked that you’re not Kobe Bryant back for round two. This is a celebrity hot spot, after all.) Coats are taken, smiles are exchanged, and you are led past a massive marble bar to your seat. Prepare to be amazed.
As we sipped on Prosecco and placed complex coffee orders, we feasted our eyes on our surroundings. More teams of wait staff were standing at attention in our dining room waiting for whatever we needed. One waiter was measuring the distance from plate to wine glass with a ruler. Details like these made the white-tablecloth brunch feel special, but La Sirena manages to avoid the stuffiness often associated with fancier Italian dining.
We took note of potted orange trees that surrounded the patio, and that the pattern on the coffee cups matched the tiles outside. Our pastry basket arrived, and we quickly divided up the five goodies inside. I love a good Italian pastry, but I’d never usually order one, and I was surprised at how quickly I ate a 1/4 of all five! From the cream-filled doughnut to the crumbly muffin, this was not your average pastry basket. I could be bold enough to say this is one of the best pastry baskets I’ve had in New York.
We also shared the pane e prosciutto, which consisted of Galloni 18-month riserva with grilled bread, blood orange marmalade, and robiolina. This was a feast of a charcuterie spread. I couldn’t resist that thick Italian bread and the dollop of soft cheese, and that was quickly all gone as well.
Chef Jamie also sent out the smoked salmon carpaccio with caper aioli and rye crumble. Despite half the table being non-lovers of smoked salmon, everyone was stealing bites of this in between the pastry basket. It was a delightful bite of savory.
For entrees, my mom ordered the Coach Farm yogurt panna cotta and house-made oat and nut granola. She hesitated ordering this because it seemed like the boring item of the brunch bunch, but it was so good. Probably because the yogurt did in fact taste like panna cotta. I was so into this dish that I ordered five Coach Farm individual yogurts through FreshDirect later that day. It wasn’t the same.
I ordered the sebadas with Pecorino and corbezzolo. I had no idea what that meant, and after much explanation from the waiters and some descriptive words like “hard ravioli,” I was sold. It sounded so different from anything I’ve seen on a brunch menu so I could not resist. Three Sardinian-style semolina fritters were filled with ewes’ milk cheese and drizzled with honey. It was unique and I was happy to have ordered it, but I was also happy we had more coming.
We decided to share Nonna’s fried eggs with bottarga and ricotta after emphatic recommendation from my brother-in-law, the head sous chef. I’m not a big fish-in-my-eggs person and I got a big bite of the Sicilian dried mullet roe, but everyone else just had fresh soft cheese and perfectly cooked and flavored eggs. I appreciated that it was fried without being dried, and that it was very interesting.
Paul ordered eggs in purgatory, which he’s still raving about one week later despite constantly and incorrectly referencing them as “eggs in Hell.” Two poached eggs were served in slightly spicy thick and flavorful tomato sauce. This was a big crowd pleaser.
We also had a tonnarelli primavera dish for the table, with seasonal vegetables, egg, Pecorino, and Parmigiana Reggiani. This pasta dish was filled with beautiful veggies and full of flavor in a creamy cheese sauce. I highly recommend ordering pasta for the table in addition to the breakfast-centric entrees.
Last up for entrees was the amaretti mascarpone pancakes with maple syrup and Sirena butter. This towering stack of breakfast amazingness, topped with sweet crunchies and doused in syrup, won the gold medal. Not only is it beautiful to photograph, but it’s wonderful to eat, and despite being too full for words, we polished off every last fluffy pancake.
After a few more top offs of Prosecco, it was time to give our compliments to the chef and waddle on home. My parents are still talking about this brunch two weeks later and I can’t wait to go back.
The Bitches say: A+. For a really amazing place to bring someone special, snag yourself a reservation at La Sirena ASAP. This will quickly become your new “go-to” when your friends ask you what your favorite brunch of the city is.
88 Ninth Avenue
La Sirena serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.