Like all New York summers, this one has been a whirlwind of weekend travel closer to sandy beaches and backyard pools. Don’t get me wrong, I love a mini-vacation as much as the next gal, but it’s nice to occasionally take a break from the 90-minute bathroom line at The Surf Lodge and stay the weekend in the seemingly empty city.
During a recent weekend when an impressive consortium of girlfriends stayed in town, we naturally convened over brunch. Andrew Carmellini’s latest venture, Little Park, was on many of our hit-lists so we snagged a rezzie for five members of our girl gang — me, Molly, Sondra, Jen, and Andrea. #squadgoals
Little Park is located within the trendy Smyth Hotel in prime TriBeCa real estate so it earned some immediate ambiance points in my book. Once inside, we were charmed by rustic details, large windows, and plenty of succulents. Little Park’s vibe is a great mix of girly and posh and it doesn’t seem like a hotel restaurant.
As is typical with most outing with my girlfriends, we definitely wanted an adult beverage, but we were slightly turned off by the $16 price tag on the brunch cocktails. We made the more “economical” choice and split a bottle of rosé, also known as summer water in my circle.
They were out of the original wine that we selected from the menu, which is understandable–it is summer in New York after all, but our waiter’s delivery was more disappointing than the skimpy rosé selection. We weren’t sure if it was his first day on the job or if he was just really stoned, but every interaction that we had with him was extremely slow and convoluted, starting with the wine.
We popped open our bottle and settled into the menu, which featured American classics such as muffins and scones, an assortment of organic egg dishes, and more hearty sandwiches and burgers. Little Park’s entire menu highlights seasonal ingredients sourced from local farmers, anglers, vintners, ranchers, and foragers.
Molly and Andrea broke the cardinal rule of brunching with the Bitches and both ordered the same thing: poached eggs with heirloom grain porridge and pine nuts. Frankly, I was jealous because this looked like the best item on the brunch menu and it ended up being our favorite plate.
The porridge was decadent and savory, and complemented by the poached eggs’ runny yolk and earthy pine nuts. The entire bowl was well balanced, healthy, and plated beautifully.
Sondra, our token picky eater of the crew, landed on eggs your way served with potatoes and toast. She had her eggs scrambled with goat cheese and remarked that her eggs were fluffy and cooked to her liking. The potatoes were well seasoned, and the toast was well, toast.
Jen ordered the garden herb omelet filled with seasonal vegetables and local goat cheese. As a plot twist, she ordered the omelet with egg whites, which was forgotten by our spacey waiter, so she had to watch us eat our entrees for awhile before her dish was replaced. To the kitchen’s credit, they turned around an egg white omelet pretty quickly, but she did think that they skimped on the veggies a bit.
I went with the egg white frittata topped with organic broccoli and New York State cheddar. This was another gorgeous plate and unlike Jen’s omelet, my frittata was chock full of tender greens. It was filling, but still felt light and healthy, so I didn’t feel like I negated my morning spin class.
The Bitches say: B+. Fresh, local produce presented beautifully in the most charming ambiance, but the lackluster service knocked this down from an A-grade meal.
Little Park at the Smyth Hotel
85 W. Broadway
New York, NY
Little Park serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.