Over the past few years in Washington and New York, I have become quite the expert mover. I’ve never stayed at an apartment for more than a year and enjoy the fresh start that comes from combing through all of your belongings and exploring a brand new neighborhood. I now have the painstaking process down to a science and am preparing for yet another move from my Murray Hill girl-pad down to Alphabet City.
With my impending move, I’m having a blast exploring more of the lower East Village/upper LES border, which will soon be my new home. It was inevitable that this exploration has added dozens of new restaurants to my “to brunch” list, the first of which was Prune.
Although Prune has been around for years, it upholds a strong reputation as a must-try brunch locale in lower Manhattan. The restaurant is tiny, like most places in the area, so build in at least a twenty minute wait no matter what time you arrive.
My boyfriend Andrew and I showed up to Prune on the earlier side and headed to a nearby park bench to enjoy our iced coffees from Mudpark while we waited for our table. The wait was brief and the weather was lovely so we didn’t mind the downtime before dining. Once we were seated, I took a minute to soak in the quaint ambiance. It really only took a minute since the space was so compact! Prune was sun soaked and rustic, and to my delight, featured hot pink accents on the barstools, signage, menus, and servers’ attire.
Prune is known for their fantastic Bloody Marys and has a dozen eclectic varieties on its brunch menu. We were licking our wounds from too many margarita pitchers at Rio Grande the night prior so we weren’t planning on drinking at brunch, but collectively decided that we’d split one of the acclaimed Bloodys for the review’s sake. However, our server regretfully informed us that Prune does not serve alcohol before noon. Fresh squeezed juice and water it was! I’m not sure if the no-drinking decree is for Sundays only or all weekend, but I’ve definitely had alcohol at brunch before noon at other establishments. We shared a glass of the Prune juice, a refreshing blend of citrus juices that actually doesn’t contain prunes at all. Our forced sobriety was probably for the best, but it was disappointing that we couldn’t sample the epic Bloody Mary selection.
Lately, I’ve been all about the “brunch appetizers” so we ordered the Dutch style pancake to start. Both Andrew and I have a bit of a sweet tooth, but find it hard to stomach an entire sweet dish as an entree, so sharing is ideal. Despite going halfsies on the pancake, we barely made a dent on this colossal carbohydrate. The dish consisted of one thick, fluffy pancake and was topped with fresh blueberries, sour cream, and powdered sugar. Andrew thought that the pancake could have been sweeter especially since it wasn’t served with syrup. I had a differing opinion and found it perfectly satisfying.
For some reason, we both selected non traditional brunch items for our main course. Despite studying abroad in Italy, I rarely eat pasta, but the spaghetti a la carbonara was calling my name. On the menu, it was described as “the Italian way to get your bacon and eggs.” The spaghetti was simple yet flavorful. I appreciated the generous dusting of black pepper atop the pasta and the sauce was decadently creamy. We were served a healthy portion of bacon in the spaghetti dish, although the meat was slightly chewy. This was an easy item to share and we noticed that many of our fellow diners also were enjoying this entree.
I can eat raw seafood at any hour of the day so we were intrigued by the sausage and oyster entree. We were presented with three oysters in the half shell along with stewed tomatoes, grilled lamb sausage, and crispy peasant bread. You really can’t go wrong with oysters, but we were surprised that this dish was offered as a main course. If you ate this alone, you would definitely still be hungry. Everything on the plate was simple and well-prepared, our only complaint was the petite portion size.
I departed Prune with a satisfied palate and a sense of accomplishment that I had checked this renowned restaurant off my to-do list. Best of all, it’s only a stone’s throw from my new digs.
The Bitches say: B+. Prune is an adorable, girly cafe that is perfect to catch up and gab with your gals. All of the food was tasty and the service was friendly. However, it is likely not accommodating for large parties.
54 E. 1st St.
New York, NY
Prune serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.