After ten fabulous days tapas-ing my way through Spain, I was ready to return to an American weekend brunch. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the duck eggs, aged ham, and warm (but very fresh) orange juice that greeted all of my sangria-fuzzy mornings. However, there really isn’t anything comparable to starting your day with an oversized cup of cappuccino and a heaping mound of pancakes.
That being said, when we returned to New York I eagerly committed to brunch with Paul’s parents at Locanda Verde, another hotspot in the Andrew Carmellini family. I’ve had incredible success at his other famed eateries (See Lafayette and the Dutch brunches), and was excited to give this Tribeca outpost a go.
After a short stroll over the cobblestones that make up one of the most delightful neighborhoods in New York, we arrived at Locanda Verde and took in the dogs, babies, and their Tribeca-trendy owners sitting in the patio outside. It was a little too hot for us, despite the idyllic view, so we ventured indoors. I’d heard so much about the fabulous interior and wanted to soak up the atmosphere more than the sun.
The expansive bar was a standout upon entering, and I noted the similarities between Lafayette’s set up with a parallel pastry and coffee takeaway bar in the front of the restaurant. If this was anything like Lafayette’s pastry game, I knew we had to order something from the sweets counter. I curbed my desire to press my nose against the glass and made my way to our cozy corner seat.
We shared our Spain stories over fairly small but delicious lattes..so much for the oversized American caffeinated beverages I was dreaming about on holiday! The lattes were so easy to drink in a few sips that by the time our food had come, we all had to order a second round.
We snacked on a shared pear pastry that had a wonderful cinnamon glaze and a sweet, rich flavor and I regretted not ordering more than one. If every New Yorker started their day with a treat from pastry chef Kierin Baldwin like this one, people would be so much more friendly. It’s mood-altering.
After much indecision, I decided that I’d be trying the lemon ricotta pancakes with blueberry and meyer lemon curd for my main. This isn’t my usual cup of tea, but the waiter said it was one of the Locanda Verde brunch staples so I knew I couldn’t miss out. Not usually a fan of lemon and definitely not a fan of the word “curd,” I was surprised at much I enjoyed the thick pudding topping that replaced traditional syrup. It worked well with the fluffy pancakes and, while flavorful, wasn’t an overwhelming lemon taste.
I ended up splitting my pancakes with Paul’s mom Julie in exchange for half of the soft scrambled farm egg crostino with leeks, mushrooms, and speck. The speck, part of the prosciutto family, added a great salty element to the plate, the mushrooms weren’t overbearing, and the soft eggs were cooked to perfection. Sometimes scrambled eggs can be a dud on a brunch menu, and these were far from that.
Paul ordered the uovo modonese with Cotechino hash, spinach, and tomato hollandaise, which was essentially a fancy version of eggs Benedict. The house made corned beef hash was a fantastic touch to an already delicious dish, and I had immediate brunch envy despite my pancakes.
Phil ordered the broccoli rabe sausage grinder with spicy peperonata and ricotta. It was, as Paul describes, “a fine dining approach to a classic Italian sausage and pepper sandwich, but it was different and so much better.” If that description doesn’t woo you, just take a second look at the epic picture above.
We savored our brunch dishes so much that we ended up ordering a third latte so we’d have something to enjoy while we swapped our high brunch opinions and the last of our vacation stories.
The Bitches say: A. It’s difficult to pick a favorite from the plethora of outstanding brunch entrees we were served at Locanda Verde, and coupled with the trendy yet inviting atmosphere and the waiters who really knew the menu, this is a must-try. Reservations are hard to come by, but your patience will be worth it.
377 Greenwich St.
New York, NY
Locanda Verde serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.